Two week summer festival commemorating town’s great fire to kick-start this weekend

Rumburgh Morris performing at a previous Bungay Festival closing ceremony. Picture: Archant library.

Rumburgh Morris performing at a previous Bungay Festival closing ceremony. Picture: Archant library. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Bungay’s annual summer festival is set to fly high from the start when it opens on July 7.

This year the opening flag raising ceremony will include a kite-making competition for children, with prizes in three categories.

The kites will be decorated in flame colours in keeping with the two-week festival theme – the commemoration of the 330th anniversary of the Great Fire of Bungay of 1688.

The Fisher Theatre is organising the kite competition, open to five to 15-year-olds and kites can be made in any shape, size or form, with an entry fee of £2 per kite. They will be judged on the opening day at Castle Meadow at 11am.

There will be prizes for the best decorated kite, the best kite design, and the best flier. For more details contact the Fisher Theatre in Broad Street on 01986 897130 .

The competition will set the scene for the festival, which will also include a window display contest along the fire theme, and an exhibition at the Fisher Theatre, organised by Bungay Museum, recalling the dramatic fire of 1688 and tracing how it recovered to become an elegant and affluent Georgian town. The exhibition opened on Sunday and will run until July 19.

On July 17, there will be a guided tour of Bungay investigating the devastating effect it had on the town centre, how it recovered, and the stylish rebuilding.

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And the fire theme continues to the very end of the festival. In a departure from tradition, the closing ceremony will be held in the evening of Sunday, July 22, and will be preceded by entertainment from fire eaters and fire dancers, music and other entertainment, with the town beacon being lit at the castle as disk falls before the Bigod flag on the castle is lowered by the town reeve, Stephen Went, and town mayor, Mick Lincoln. The two dignitaries will also perform the opening ceremony at the castle.

Said festival chairman Didy Ward: “Bungay is always a great town to visit, with our lovely old buildings and lovely independent shops, and it will be especially hot this summer!”

In between those occasions there will be plenty of other activities to enjoy including Shakespeare at the Castle, tower tours, the antiques street fair, a display of Great War memorabilia, the Bungay Bake Off coffee morning and a tour of historic Earsham Hall.

For full details, see the Summer in Bungay programme – which also includes Bungay events until the end of August – which is available at several outlets in the town, including the library and Fisher Theatre.

Bungay Festival programme - week one


Bungay Country Festival Market, Butter Cross, 9am to 11am.

Kite competition and festival opening ceremony, Bungay Castle, 11.45am.

Kids’ Fun Day, with races, dancing and stall, noon to 4pm.

Land of Hope and Glory – Bungay’s own prom, St Mary’s Church, 7.30pm, tickets £12 from Wightman’s New Beginnings and Earsham Hall.


The Great Bungay Duck Race, Falcon Meadow, food, bar, stalls and lots of ducks, from noon.


Bungay Good Read Group – meet the author, Nicci French, Bungay Library, 7.30pm, tickets £5 in advance from the library.

The Famous Bungay Ale Trail, start at the Castle Inn, Earsham Street, 7pm.


Festival Quiz, St Edmund’s Hall, 7pm for 7.30pm, teams of 4-6, £5 per person, contact Carole Hunt on 01986 9894656.


Soiree in the Priory, St Mary’s Priory Ruins, 6pm, with the Harbour Lights Trio, free, donations to St Mary’s.


Clay’s Factory tour, 5.30pm to 7.30pm – already sold out.