Crowds of visitors turn out to witness the launch of the Cirencester March Hare Festival

Hare festival springs into Cirencester

Countess Bathurst cutting the four-foot hare cake made by Cotswold Finest Cakes

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and his hare model Boudoir Bunny

Cirencester College students Joseph Jamfrey, Jim Crawley and Emily Thomas hand out cake to the waiting crowd

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen unveling his hare in Cirencester town centre on the weekend

A huge crowd turned out to witness the launch of the festival

First published in News
Last updated
Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

DROVES of visitors turned up to support the launch of a highly-anticipated Cirencester festival on Saturday.

The town centre was packed with people craning to witness the unveiling of one mysterious hare model, designed by celebrity designer and Siddington resident Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

After months of planning, The Cirencester March Hare Festival has finally arrived and already colourful and decorative hare models are being spotted all across town.

“This is something that Cirencester has been calling out for,” said Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, who unveiled his elegantly decorated hare, “Boudoir Bunny”.

“The festival celebrates the energy, creativity and difference of the town and is a real symbol of just how much higher Cirencester punches above its weight.”

Laurence’s hare model was unveiled to an eagerly waiting crowd on Saturday afternoon in front of the Parish Church.

A four-foot hare-shaped cake was then cut by Countess Bathurst in the Corn Hall, to continue the celebration.

The huge cake, created by Aggy Dadan and Andrew Pole of Cotswold Finest Cakes, was made with 180 eggs, 10 kilograms of sugar and 15 kilograms of cream.

Mayor of Cirencester Joe Harris, who attended to support the event, said the festival was a fantastic occasion for the town.

“This is a real draw to Cirencester and the centre is just packed today,” he said. “I haven’t had a chance to look at all the hare models yet but my favourite so far is Harelequin hare, at Ingleside House.”

Festival organiser Florence Beetlestone said the launch was beautifully timed with the warm weather.

“Today has proved what an event this is going to be. People have been coming far and wide to see the hares,” she said.

The Cirencester March Hare Festival has seen businesses and organisations from across the region put their names behind the project by sponsoring a hare.

Funds raised through sponsorship and the sale of the 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.

There are currently 30 five-foot hares dotted around Cirencester and the surrounding area for people to discover, with more models to appear over the coming weeks. There is also a selection of smaller life-size ones to find.

The hares will be in town until September this year before going on auction in October.

Visit cirencesterharefestival.org.uk for more information.

Comments (7)

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10:48am Mon 31 Mar 14

dopey1 says...

The town seemed busy on Saturday with everyone that I met in good humour.

People were joking with strangers in the Greengrocers shop and I met some bikers who regularly come over from Wales, just to buy pies in the Butchers.
If the parking was sorted out better, i.e. cheaper, then it would be like this more often.
The town seemed busy on Saturday with everyone that I met in good humour. People were joking with strangers in the Greengrocers shop and I met some bikers who regularly come over from Wales, just to buy pies in the Butchers. If the parking was sorted out better, i.e. cheaper, then it would be like this more often. dopey1
  • Score: 3

1:00pm Mon 31 Mar 14

Geoff66 says...

It is a shame perhaps that the Hare Festival hasn't been adopted more widely across the town, and that more shops and premises are not adorned with their own hares, or hare related products. Yes this is the first of these festivals, so let's hope that these kind of festivals and events will continue to act as a much needed draw for the town, as well as bringing in yet more visitors and shoppers to our town.

I am also wondering whether the new Market Place redevelopment will consider the potential of installing a "Giant bronze hare", which could become a major and permanent attraction in its own right, like the "Hare and Minotaur" in Cheltenham has become?

Congratulations to all those involved in this event, and lets hope that this event and other similar events and festivals in the future will have a significant and positive impact upon Cirencester in the future, and hopefully these will support the long-term rejuvenation of Cirencester as an important and historic Market town, and as a major tourist centre.
It is a shame perhaps that the Hare Festival hasn't been adopted more widely across the town, and that more shops and premises are not adorned with their own hares, or hare related products. Yes this is the first of these festivals, so let's hope that these kind of festivals and events will continue to act as a much needed draw for the town, as well as bringing in yet more visitors and shoppers to our town. I am also wondering whether the new Market Place redevelopment will consider the potential of installing a "Giant bronze hare", which could become a major and permanent attraction in its own right, like the "Hare and Minotaur" in Cheltenham has become? Congratulations to all those involved in this event, and lets hope that this event and other similar events and festivals in the future will have a significant and positive impact upon Cirencester in the future, and hopefully these will support the long-term rejuvenation of Cirencester as an important and historic Market town, and as a major tourist centre. Geoff66
  • Score: 9

8:25pm Mon 31 Mar 14

cir3ngirl says...

All they need to do now is make sure website is working and put the map on so I can find them all with my iPhone/ipad and not try and hunt down a paper version
All they need to do now is make sure website is working and put the map on so I can find them all with my iPhone/ipad and not try and hunt down a paper version cir3ngirl
  • Score: 2

8:28pm Mon 31 Mar 14

Dwain Rimmer says...

dopey1 - those guys came all the way for the pies, IRRESPECTIVE of the cost of parking or how busy the parking was going to be. focussing on the wrong thing methinks
dopey1 - those guys came all the way for the pies, IRRESPECTIVE of the cost of parking or how busy the parking was going to be. focussing on the wrong thing methinks Dwain Rimmer
  • Score: 1

10:07pm Tue 1 Apr 14

Scissorhands says...

I'm thoroughly enjoying the interest the Hares have brought to the town. We have one in our window at Limes. It is lovely to see so many happy faces at our salon window, children especially, adults too. There are far too many moaners out there, why don't you go out and look for the Hares, maybe the fresh hare (see what I did there) will do you some good and blow some cobwebs away from for stagnant heads!!
I'm thoroughly enjoying the interest the Hares have brought to the town. We have one in our window at Limes. It is lovely to see so many happy faces at our salon window, children especially, adults too. There are far too many moaners out there, why don't you go out and look for the Hares, maybe the fresh hare (see what I did there) will do you some good and blow some cobwebs away from for stagnant heads!! Scissorhands
  • Score: 2

1:01pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum says...

Well, walked around Cirencester for 30 mins on Sunday ...... and found a total of 3 hares.

Were they all hiding in their forms I wonder?
Well, walked around Cirencester for 30 mins on Sunday ...... and found a total of 3 hares. Were they all hiding in their forms I wonder? Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum
  • Score: 2

4:52pm Wed 2 Apr 14

Fred Fred1 says...

Its ironic we have a festival to celebrate the hare and yet are planning to build hundres/ thousands of houses on land surrounding Ciren where these creatures live.
Its ironic we have a festival to celebrate the hare and yet are planning to build hundres/ thousands of houses on land surrounding Ciren where these creatures live. Fred Fred1
  • Score: 4

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