“Hat Fair is a bit like letting your cheeky cousin loose in Winchester,” says festival director Andrew Loretto. “It’s playful, it’s fun and it’s full of surprises, but most of all it empowers local people to celebrate and re-imagine where they live.”
Celebrating the street theatre and music that have added colour to the city for centuries, Hat Fair was conceived as a busking festival in 1974. It’s now the UK’s longest-running festival of outdoor arts, and attracted over 53,000 people last year with 120 live performances.
Ask the Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, what he enjoys most about his work and he’ll tell you it’s seeing Christianity making a difference in the community.
“The message of Christmas is that Jesus came to be part of everyday life and show us how to live for God and for others,” he says.
“We might not all agree on how we move the Church forward, but what we do share is the same aspiration to live out our faith in the way that we lead our lives.
Winchester marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death with events across the city. Jane lived in Hampshire, writing in Chawton, and came to Winchester for the final few weeks before her death in the city in 1817. From exhibitions and talks to street performance, Austen fans have plenty to enjoy.
Find out more about Jane’s life and work at an exhibition by Hampshire Cultural Trust and Jane Austen’s House Museum at Winchester Discovery Centre. See Jane’s pelisse coat, first editions of her work, personal letters and a collection of portraits up close in The Gallery. 01962 873603 www.hants.gov.uk/wdc
It’s the UK’s longest-running festival of outdoor arts, attracting audiences of 58,000 to over 200 live performances last year.
This year’s Hat Fair runs from 30 June to 2 July, with a new director, Andrew Loretto, at the helm.
“Hat Fair was conceived as a busking festival in 1974 and is inspired now as it was then by the people, heritage and public spaces within the city,” Andrew says. “Our aim is to transform the everyday into the extraordinary.
Monopoly is receiving a Winchester makeover, with a new city version of the iconic game.
Winning Moves UK, the company behind Monopoly, wants local suggestions for game pieces and squares.
“The game will see around 30 leading Winchester landmarks replacing the famous Monopoly addresses like Mayfair and Park Lane,” said Ben Thomas, from Winning Moves UK. “We are inviting the public to help us put this edition together.”
Rachel Wragg opened the doors to Winchester College’s Treasury in the medieval Warden’s Stables in October last year, where four galleries are filled with artefacts from around the world.
“Many of the items we have here were gifts from generous benefactors.” Rachel says. “Other treasures were bought to bring lessons to life.”
A glittering jewel box of medieval silver includes the 15th-century Election Cup, which is still used as part of the ceremony of admitting scholars to the school. Stunning Victorian stained-glass panels were uncovered in a dusty attic, while the Duberly collection of Chinese ceramics was given to the school in memory of a boy who lost his life in World War Two.