CIRENCESTER will be welcoming a large drove of long-eared visitors this weekend, as the highly anticipated hare festival finally leaps into action.

Over 40 five foot model hares will be moving into the town this Saturday, March 29 to decorate and brighten up the Cotswolds.

Siddington resident and national celebrity designer Laurence Llewelyn Bowen will proudly unveil his decorated hare at 12noon on Saturday outside the Parish Church to begin the sculpture trail.

His hare will be the first set up around Cirencester and surrounding areas creating an exciting and fun art trail, all decorated by artists, schools and celebrities.

To celebrate the launch Countess Bathurst will be cutting a four foot hare cake, made by Cotswold Finest Cakes to mark the occasion. Members of the public can enjoy cake handed out by characters in hare-themed outfits while listening to the Corinium Players performing a guitar ensemble for the enjoyment of the crowd.

The fibre glass hares have been decorated using a variety of mediums by some of the best artists the region has to offer.

“We have a Harlequin Hare, some hares decorated in mosaic, hares in sartorial dress, one with wings another with a hat and so many more,” said festival organiser Florence Beetlestone.

“Cirencester is synonymous with the hare since the stunning Roman hare mosaic was found here in 1971 which is now in the Corinium Museum."

Businesses and organisations from across the region have put their names behind the project by sponsoring one of the hares.

Funds raised through sponsorship and the sale of these hares at auction in October 2014 will help raise the target of £50,000 to enable the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to set up the Green Hare Churn Walkway around the River Churn in Cirencester.

The new wild walkways will be a natural sanctuary for people of all ages to use and enjoy.

For more information

The festival launches this Saturday, March 29 at 12midday by the Parish Church in Cirencester. All welcome.