North Devon gears up for royal celebrations

The region is going red, white and blue-crazy as it gears up for the biggest royal celebration since Kate and Wills said ‘I do’.

EXCITEMENT is hotting up in North Devon this week as communities gear up for what’s set to be the biggest celebration of the year.

From beer festivals and bunting to fireworks and fancy dress, the region will be celebrating The Queen’s diamond jubilee in style.

Among the street parties, village fairs and community picnics, thousands of people will be joining together in larger events held across North Devon this two-day bank holiday.

In Barnstaple, picnickers are invited to join the Big Lunch at Rock Park, with live music, stalls and games from 11am-4pm on Sunday.

The event, organised by Barnstaple Lions Club, will include a Kings and Queen’s fancy dress competition, and operational requirements permitting, a fly-past from the Chivenor search and rescue helicopter.

And from Sunday to Tuesday, anyone in Barnstaple can also raise a celebratory pint to Her Majesty at the North Devon Beer Festival.

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Running from 12pm-10pm Sunday and Monday and 12pm-8pm on Tuesday in Barnstaple Pannier Market, the event will host more than 30 North Devon ales, a selection of ciders and locally sourced food.

Those in Ilfracombe will also be able to raise a toast at the Landmark Theatre’s jubilee beer and music festival from Sunday to Tuesday.

To commemorate the celebrations, Ilfracombe Rotary Club is also asking as many people as possible to turn up for a photographic extravaganza on Capstone Hill.

At 12pm on Sunday, the club is hoping to gather the community together to spell out ‘EIIR-2012’ on the hillside for a photo, before celebrating with a big picnic.

On Monday, Bideford has been granted special permission to fire a two-cannon salute as part of one of the largest civic parades in the area.

Anyone wearing 1950s costume can join the parade, which will leave the town hall and march along the Quay at 3pm.

Afterwards, an afternoon of family fun lies in wait in Victoria Park, including the X Radio One Roadshow stage.

And in South Molton, the sky will burst with red, white and blue for a Royal Fireworks Spectacular held as part of an evening party in the central car park.

The evening, organised by South Molton Business Association and South Molton Town Council, will feature live music, fairground rides, and plenty of local food and drink from 8pm-10pm.

Fireworks will also dazzle the people of Torrington on Monday as the Torrington Cavalliers light the enormous beacon they have been building at the Rugby Club.

The free event will kick off at 5pm with music, entertainment, and rides and games for the kids, before the beacon is lit around 10pm.

The town will also play host to medieval jester and musician ‘Wynndebagge’ on Saturday from 12pm onwards, as Torrington town square is transformed into a hive of entertainment.

Free parking will be available in the town from 12pm, and crowds will be entertained by local dance and singing groups in an afternoon of fun organised by Great Torrington Chamber of Trade.

In Braunton, a special civic and village service will be held at St Brannock’s Church. The village will also hold its annual village fair on Monday with a jubilee theme in the Recreational Ground, from 11am-5.30pm.

Out at sea, Ilfracombe and North Devon RNLI Lifeguards will commemorate the jubilee by organising a joint training exercise and rescue display off Woolacombe Beach at 5.45pm on Sunday.

Smaller events are also being held throughout the region, as communities plan their own celebrations to commemorate the royal weekend.

Bishops Tawton will be celebrating on Tuesday with a Village Street Fun Day from 3pm showcasing food stalls, a children’s marching band, coconut shy and bouncy castle.

In Clovelly on Saturday, The New Inn will be holding a street party kicking off at 3pm with a children’s afternoon tea party, treasure hunt and best portrait of the Queen competition.

And those in Bideford on Saturday can enjoy a hog roast at Blazey’s at the Portobello Pub, and a whiole host of workshops and entertainment at Bideford Pannier Market from 10.30am-3pm.

Schools around North Devon will also be celebrating with fancy dress, playground parties, sports days and the very patriotic strawberries and cream.

As well as the major events happening around the region, Devon County Council has authorised more than 30 road closures for individual street parties.

Market Street in Appledore, Priory Close in Pilton, Kilnwood Road in Fremington, Beach Road in Hele, Fore Street in Ilfracombe, Marine Parade in Instow and The Square in Northam are among those closed for celebrations.

For a full list of Jubilee events taking place across North Devon, click on the link in the top right of the page for our What’s On Diary.

We’d love to hear about your event for our next edition, so please send your photos in to by Tuesday, June 5.

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