Winchester Hat Fair Celebrates 45 Years!

Photo by Adrienne Photography (Quatuor Stomp at Hat Fair 2017)

This year’s Hat Fair, the UK’s longest continually running Outdoor Arts Festival, takes place in Winchester from Friday 5 July to Sunday 7 July 2019. Celebrating 45 years this year and taking its name from its busking heritage, the free three-day festival brings the very best in international street performance, theatre, dance and circus-inspired events to the city.

Hat Fair will run throughout the city centre on Friday and Saturday with Sunday’s festivities taking place at the North Walls Recreation Ground, a short walk from the High Street.

The festival kicks off in style at noon on Friday 5 July as hundreds of school children parade through the streets in the Hat Fair Carnival, so come along to join in the fun! Local acts will pop up throughout the city centre on Saturday and will take to the People’s Stage at the North Walls Recreation Ground on Sunday.

Performing companies from the University of Winchester will battle it out in the Top Hat Competition to win mentoring with Andrew Loretto, Hat Fair Director, and a prized slot in the programme of Hat Fair 2020. Last year’s winner Martin Jakeman will be performing this year – so keep an eye out for him. The lawns of St Johns Almshouses will provide an oasis, where festival-goers can enjoy free cups of tea and cake whilst enjoying acts in a calmer environment. Hat Fair is the UK’s longest running festival of outdoor arts. Founded in 1974 by Jonathan Kay, Hat Fair inspires and is inspired by the people, heritage and public spaces within the city of Winchester.

Their aim is to shine a light on the city, transforming the everyday into the extraordinary. The festival takes place every year during the first weekend of July across the historic city of Winchester. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at each year’s festival, and best of all, it’s absolutely free to attend!

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