Cumbria's answer to the Edinburgh Fringe!

by Zoe Dawes /
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Sep 10, 2009 / 0 comments

Big Rory"Have yer seen Ochie?" asked Big Rory, a nine foot Scottish giant of his equally tall and somewhat tartily dressed companion, Morag. "Aye, Ah think he's oo'er there, by the pub" she replied. And we turned to see a huge hairy dog frolicking about and being hugged by a delighted five year old. At this point the 'dog', sensing he'd got our attention, cocked his leg and did what all dogs have done since time immemorial - he 'peed' up a lamppost - and all over the audience ...

This little scene was played out in Kendal High Street, Cumbria, a couple of weeks ago at the famous Kendal MintFest, a truly quirky celebration of Street Arts which rivals the Edinburgh Festival, albeit on a smaller scale. For 3 days and nights the 'Auld Grey Town' (so-called because of the grey stone used in building the town) becomes a riot of colour, laughter, derring-do and some of the best of British street theatre talent to be found. 

Big Rory and his troupe have performed around the world including all over America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia - and their tour to Australia next year is sure to be really popular.

Another spectacle we really enjoyed was the Trolls Kitchen with weird and wonderful recipes from their Cock & Bull Cook Book. How do you fancy Repugnant Stews, Rancid Cup Cakes, Putrid Smoothies, and Mangy Salads? YUM!



Curious CargoMy favourite for total quirkiness was Curious Cargo's Lost Luggage Porters - two rather bewildered pale-faced train porters wandering about town trying to find their way to the Railway station and engaging the audience in their quest in a truly interactive and fun way.

After my son and I had had our fill of the street entertainment we wandered out of the town and up the hill to Kendal Castle This castle was in the Parr family for many years and rumour has it (and it is only a rumour!) that it was the one-time the home of Henry VIII's sixth wife, Katherine Parr. Up here a wonderful collage of 100 giant flags had been created by local communities from across Cumbria. Sadly, the wild west wind had ripped many of them up, leaving a few hardy banners fluttering bravely in the breeze.



Kendal Castle & FlagsKendal has loads to offer the visitor, whether passing through on your way to the Lake District just down the road, or as a centre for Cumbrian exploration.  To find out more about this town - and maybe taste the sugary delights of Kendal Mint Cake, the same one Sir Edmund Hilary took up Everest, visit Go Lakes For details of next year's MintFest and a number of other events in the area, check out Lakes Alive 






Based in Cumbria, I travel the world searching out quirky and wonderful places to visit, stay and marvel at. For more info and maybe even a bit of inspiration see my Blog for more info or email me [email protected]