We can’t get enough of Penrith’s Winter Droving festival, which raises a toast to the change in seasons and its rural heritage. It’s a brilliant time of year to take an alternative Lake District trip for this completely out-of-the-ordinary total town takeover by the clever cultural captains at Eden Arts.
Each year, Penrith is transformed for one magical day into a spectacular wonderland of outdoor arts, music, mayhem, fire and masquerade with an always-impressive line-up of performance on stages and streets across the town.
For the first time in The Winter Droving’s 10-year history, 2021’s event will be held over an extended three days, celebrating music, art, culture and light. Rocking musicians, fire breathing performance and larger-than-life illuminated lanterns, will once again brighten Penrith’s town centre, for the annual masquerade.
Visitors can expect spectacular music and street theatre performances, in a relaxed, cosmopolitan setting. As with previous years, the town centre will host a food and craft market. This will showcase works from local artists, producers and there will be an abundance of entertainment from midday until dark.
In past year’s a big draw has been the fire and light processions whereby masked torch bearers “drove” colossal animal lanterns through the streets at dusk, fine Cumbrian market of artisan local food, drink and stylish goods in partnership with Crafty Vintage, and the bonkers Drovers Cup competition which included Pint Passing, Egg Throwing, Sausage Eating (Cumberland of course) and Hay Bale Racing.
At this year’s festival, expect to see sights that will blow other outdoor arts experiences out of the water. Join in, dance and, above all, smile and laugh. A lot. Events are spread across the town so leave time for exploring.
We love that this weekend is steeped in tradition, timed near the centuries-old festival of Samhain, marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year.
The Winter Droving is hands down one of the area’s best events of the year.