More morris dancers than you can shake a stick at

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About 16 Morris dancing teams from all over England are set to descend on the village of Kirtlington, near Bicester, on the weekend of June 14 and 15 for the annual Lamb Ale Morris Festival.

The fun begins on the Friday evening with folk music and singing in the nearby pub, The Rock of Gibraltar, Enslow.

At about 10.30am on Saturday, June 14, Kirtlington Morris and guest sides Hexham Morris and Hexhamshire Lasses will dance at sites around the village, before going on to tour Blenheim Palace and Woodstock in the early afternoon.

In the evening there is a lamb roast, and a barn dance open to all at Kirtlington Village Hall, with energetic music provided by Blue Eyed Strangers with caller Lesley Dunlop. Blue Eyed Strangers are made up of experienced musicians from Hexham Morris, some of whom also play with Whapweasel.

Doors open at 8pm, tickets £8 on the door, or from the village shop.

The real spectacle begins at 10am on Sunday, June 15, when all morris sides gather north of the village to parade to the parish church for the special 10.45am Lamb Ale service, which includes music and dance.

After the service at noon, the sides dance through the village again to Kirtlington Primary School where there will be a display of traditional dancing by Kirtlington Morris and Kirtlington Maids.

After that, the teams split up to dance at various sites around the village until the grand finale back at the school at 3pm.

There is plenty for everyone to do over the weekend, with a beer festival at the school, a family picnic area,a children’s playground and and Lamb Ale exhibition at the village hall. Free private camping all weekend is included with your barn dance ticket.