In Dorset, festival season is hugely diverse. Sometimes practical and informative and sometimes quirky and eccentric – you’ll find everything here, from an eclectic mix of traditional village fetes, coastal sand-castle building or kite flying fairs, food and drink festivals, large and small agricultural shows, music festivals – the list is endless and there’s no excuse to say there’s nothing happening in the area this spring.
Some events for your diary:
Poole Maritime Festival – 18 to 21 May 2017 – This will be one of the largest maritime events in Europe! Expect plenty of activities both on and off the water.
Big Dorset Outdoor Weekend – 20 to 21 May 2017 - This is one festival for families that like to get active – there will be cycling, walking, sailing and a vast selection of water based activities in and around Weymouth and Portland.
Harry Paye Day – 17 June 2017 - Poole's annual celebration of its favourite pirate son Harry Paye! Expect plenty of amusing piratical antics.
These fun-filled events foster a sense of community spirit and a welcome feeling of inclusiveness. Besides it’s a great excuse to get to know your neighbours a little bit better.
Read on for more information about local festivals in the area, and remember to look at the What's On listings to find even more events…
Swanage Carnival and Regatta: Saturday 29 July to 5 August
If you are looking for family fun and excitement this summer, look no further than Swanage Carnival and Regatta.
It’s one of the most popular carnivals on the South Coast, featuring more than 100 thrilling events, including the famous carnival procession, wacky races, amazing firework displays and Carnival's got Talent.
This year visitors will be in for an extra special treat as the world famous Red Arrows will be taking to the skies thrilling crowds with their breath-taking display. The great news about Swanage carnival is that it is affordable and in some cases the entertainment is free, so donations in the buckets are always much appreciated.
Swanage Carnival is 100% self-funded and any extra funds raised are donated to selected charities. For details visit www.swanagecarnival.com
Purbeck Pirate Festival returns… 30 June to 2 July
This year, Swanage Pier will be hosting its second Purbeck Pirate Festival, a charity event created to support the “Save Swanage Pier Appeal” and The Purbeck Admiral Nurse.
Taking place from Friday 30 June through to Sunday 2 July, the festival promises plenty of swash-buckling fun with re-enactment battles, sword-fighting, canon fire, a children’s magic show, a fun beach school, Rhymetime and tours on the Frigate Shtandart.
The amazing Kids’ Disco will happen on Friday 30 June from 6.30pm, which is sure to be a big hit with the children.
Plus, during the weekend, there will be Shanty Singers, performers, live music and storytelling for all ages – all in authentic pirate style of course! Visit www.swanagepiertrust.com
The Big Wild Sleepout at RSPB Arne: Saturday 5 August
Due to unprecedented demand, RSPB Arne will be hosting an extra Big Wild Sleepout event on Saturday 5th August.
This gives family an opportunity to spend the night underneath the stars at the fantastic RSPB Arne reserve in Dorset.
The overnight event runs from 5pm to 10am and includes a guided walk and a meal cooked over the fire. For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/arne
Camp Bestival’s Tenth Anniversary Celebrations
Creative possibilities are everywhere at this year’s Camp Bestival, running from 27 to 30 July.
Enjoy the tenth anniversary celebrations at Lulworth Castle, with music from Mark Ronson, Madness, Holly Johnson, All Saints and more.
Don’t miss out on family fun and theatre from School of Rock – the musical, Mr Tumble, Dick and Dom, Mister Maker, The Bear and The Piano live, and many more. Be amazed by jaw-dropping spectacles galore including the return of the World’s Biggest Bouncy Castle and bugtastic acrobatics. For more information on Camp Bestival, visit – www.campbestival.net
Feel Good Festival Dorset: Saturday 24 June
Feel Good Festival Dorset 2017 is brought to you by YMCA Bournemouth and Dorset Blind Association on Saturday 24 June, from 11am-11pm.
A family festival with sporting activities, live music, stalls and refreshments at Boscombe beach, the event will include YMCA’s kids’ races (£5) and a 5 Mile Zig Zag Challenge (from £12). For more information, to register for free activities or enter races, visit www.feelgooddorset.eventbrite.co.uk.
Christchurch’s Chilli and Cheese Festival: 10 and 11 June
If having a great time in the sun with the family enjoying Cheese and Chilli, live music, stunt shows, craft shows, cooking demonstrations, cheese and chilli tastings and much more, is your thing then you need to go to the Cheese and Chilli Festival, in Christchurch over the weekend of the 10 and 11 June.
Aside from the culinary delights there will be a host of exciting attractions, activities and events including a Falconry flying display, magic shows, balloon modelling, inflatables, Punch and Judy, as well as other entertainment such as a chilli eating competition. Discover more at www.cheeseandchillifestival.com
Spring Food Fair at River Cottage