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Where Did You Get That Hat?

Bridport Hat Festival

8:16am 5th September 2013

A West Dorset market town is hosting one of the county's more eccentric events this weekend.

The Bridport Hat Festival was started 4 years ago by Roger Snook - who's family have had a hat shop in the town for generations.

The event attracts thousands of people each year and kicks off on Friday with British Country Legend Hank Wangford.

Hank returns for Saturday's mass hatted gathering, when the town centre is closed to traffic to accommodate thousands of hat wearers in full party mode.

After the giant hat-wearing photoshoot at lunchtime in Bucky Doo Square, winners will be chosen from the crowd for the best hats amongst the adults and children. This year there are new awards for most elegantly-hatted couple and even (thanks to the many seen at previous HatFests) best hatted dog. The competition for serious hat makers, the Milliners and Hatters Open, crowns the day with its top prize of £500.

Other Saturday attractions will include live music in Bucky Doo and up on Millenium Green, where further activities including the inaugural Bridport Hat-Hurling Challenge are planned, while down at St Michael's Vintage Quarter the artists and antique dealers will be putting on yet more hat-centric diversions. Plus, you can expect food and drink in abundance, several venues stuffed with hat trade stands (who have their own competition for best millinery display), and plenty to keep younger visitors entertained. The street collection will see profits split between this year's chosen charities, Brain Tumour Research and the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust.

Exhibitions and displays involving the local museum, amongst others, will provide yet more interest, as will talks at the boutique Bull Hotel with The Hat Magazine's fashion editor Carole Denford and Festival founder Roger Snook. The Open Competition awards will be presented late in the afternoon before Saturday is rounded off by a bhangra band (complete with turban-tying competition) back in the Arts Centre.

To find out more visit the festival website www.bridporthatfest.org, or keep up via Facebook and Twitter.

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