Houghton Feast, an ancient festival that dates back to the 12th century is set to take place once again this year – here’s everything you need to know.
Houghton le Spring’s flagship celebration Houghton Feast is back yet again this year with a packed programme of events taking place across the town over ten days.
The free festival is held each year in October with this year’s theme being ‘King of Coal’, carrying on celebrations of the Coronation of King Charles III in May of this year.
The event will of course include the yearly roasting of the Ox, which this year will be cut in a ceremony by the Mayor of Sunderland.
Paul Lanagan, Ox Roasting co-ordinator at the Houghton Feast Trust spoke of the amount of time and dedication that has gone into planning the event.
He said: “The planning of Houghton Feast starts a year before the event arrives so we are all very much looking forward to this year’s special Coronation themed festival, as we continue our commemorations for the new King.
“The Houghton Feast Trust will be roasting a whole ox as part of those celebrations and the Mayor of Sunderland, for the fiftieth time, will carve the first ceremonial slice of beef.”
Here’s all the information you need to know about this year’s feast.
What is Houghton Feast?
Houghton Feast is a yearly festival that takes place in the town of Houghton le Spring, which has been taking place each annually for over 800 years.
The event was originally conceived as a dedication festival to the parish church of St Michael & All Angels, lasting ten days and includes everything from a fair ground to a ceremonial Ox roast.
When is Houghton Feast this year?
This year, Houghton Feast kicks off on Friday, October 6 and will be open from 6pm to 10pm.
Opening times for the rest of the festival are as follows:
Saturday, October 7: 1pm to 10pm
Sunday, October 8: CLOSED
Monday, October 9 – Friday, October 13: 6pm to 10pm
Saturday, October 14: 1pm to 10pm
Sunday, October 15: CLOSED
Where is Houghton Feast?
The main attractions including the fairground and games will be set up at Rectory Field on Dairy Lane.
However, other events will be taking place across the town including in Houghton Library, Houghton Parish Church and in Houghton Welfare Hall across the ten-day period.
This includes the traditional pipes and drums march will head along Newbottle Street, making its way to the Carnival Parade starting point.
How can I get there?
Multiple Go North East bus services run to the centre of Houghton including the number 35, 20, 4, and X1.
However, you should check the provider before you travel to ensure the route is not affected by any road closures.
Pedestrians can access the Rectory Field by foot from Dairy Lane, Dickens Street and by following The Broadway past the Old Rectory in to the park.
Is there parking?
There are two car parks close by, but spaces are limited.
Drivers can park in either the Station Road or the Brinkburn Crescent Car Parks, which can hold 93 and 80 cars respectively.
When will the Ox be roasted?
The question on everyone’s (hungry) lips is: When can they get their hands on an ox sandwich?
Attendees can get their hands on a sandwich from 1pm on October 7, and you can even pre-order your sandwich ahead of the festival here.
When are the fireworks?
The Fest Fireworks Music Spectacular will take place on Monday, October 9 from 7:30pm on Durham Road.
Attendees can also see the show from Dairy Lane.