MARKET places across County Durham will become ‘hubs’ for festival activity throughout the remainder of the month after circus performances, mini golf and climbing walls are set to make an appearance each weekend in March.

Under the schedule of events, Crook, Ferryhill and Durham City will become centres of festival activity as part of a series of free events that will back-up Durham’s 2025 UK City of Culture bid.

As part of a bid to get people visiting and enjoying their high streets, Durham County Council is putting together free festival-style events across the county’s main towns throughout March.

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Each weekend of the month will see fun activities descend upon a different town centre, where people can enjoy a variety of entertainment including circus performances and workshops, walkabout acts, face painting and craft workshops.

This weekend will see the street festival head to Crook and Ferryhill to entertain visitors and shoppers, following a successful run last weekend at Seaham and Shildon.

Activities will go ahead between 11am and 3pm at Crook Market Place on Saturday, March 12, with circus performances and street entertainment such as stilt walkers.

There will also be circus workshops for people to take part in, as well as face painting, a climbing wall and crazy golf.

The Northern Echo: A circus performer in Seaham town centre. Picture: DURHAM COUNTY COUNCIL.A circus performer in Seaham town centre. Picture: DURHAM COUNTY COUNCIL.

The festival will then move on to Ferryhill Market Place on Sunday, March 13, where from 11am to 3pm people will be able to enjoy more performances, face painting and activities.

On Wednesday, March 16, from 4pm to 8pm, Durham City Market Place will also come to life with circus performers, face painting and street entertainment, running alongside Durham’s regular Full Moon Market.

The street festival will continue across the county’s main towns throughout March, with the remaining events to take place on Saturday, March 19, 11am to 3pm at Stanley Front Street, Sunday, March 20, 11am to 3pm at Middle Street, Consett, Friday, March 25, 4.30pm to 8.30pm at Bishop Auckland Market Place, Saturday, March 26, 11am to 3pm at Chester-le-Street Market Place, and Sunday, March 27, 11am to 3pm at Scar Top, Barnard Castle.

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The events have been organised with money from the Welcome Back Fund (WBF) which was established by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The WBF builds on the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, which was allocated to councils in 2020 to put in place additional measures to create and promote a safe environment for local trade and tourism, particularly in high streets as their economies reopen.

As a requirement of the funding, the street festival entertainment must take place before March 31.

The Northern Echo: Mini golf, climbing walls and circuses will descend on various County Durham towns. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Mini golf, climbing walls and circuses will descend on various County Durham towns. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “After last weekend’s success at Seaham and Shildon, we are delighted to be bringing our street festival to more towns in County Durham. Throughout March, we’re planning to entertain visitors right across the county with free events and activities.

“The street festival will allow us to attract more visitors to our high streets, helping to boost footfall and ensure our towns remain vibrant places to visit. The events also support the county’s current bid for UK City of Culture 2025, which if successful will allow us to bring more cultural activities and opportunities like this to our town centres.”

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