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Cirencester goes mad for March Hare Festival

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: March 27, 2014

A bronze hare and the original mosaic

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Things are going to get hare-y this summer in Cirencester.

The town’s first ever Mad March Hare Festival, put on by the Cirencester Community Development Trust leaps into action on Saturday.

The festival’s hare trail will see fifty five foot tall sculptures of brown hares decorated and placed around the town in a trail for people to follow and discover.

The first will be the one unveiled at the weekend by celebrity designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, who lives nearby, outside the parish church in the heart of the Cotswold town.

He has decorated his hare sculpture, as have many of the best artists working in the area as well as children form local schools.

Festival organiser, Florence Beetlestone said: ““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.

“It is wonderful to see this finally happen as it has been a dream of mine for many years and it will help a great cause at the same time.”

The hare, Lepus europaeus, has been seen as a symbol of Cirencester sicne the discovery of an ancient Roman mosaic depicting the animal was discovered just below the road surface during archaeological excavations in Beeches Road close to the River churn. It is now housed in the Corinium Museum in the town.

Florence added: ““Cirencester is synonymous with the hare since the stunning Roman hare mosaic was found here in 1971.”

When the hare sculptures are sold in at auction in October, funds raised will be put towards the £50,000 needed to allow the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to set up the Green Hare Churn Walkway around the River Churn . The aim is to link existing parks and improve local nature areas creating a network of wild walkways around the town, particularly along the river.

Andy Lichnowski, of the Cirencester Community Development Trust Ltd said, "I'm absolutely delighted by the enthusiastic response the March Hare Festival has received from the sponsors, artists, businesses, schools and colleges and I pay tribute to our hard working organisers. It promises to be a fascinating Festival creatively engaging across the community and encouraging more visitors and tourists to visit our beautiful town".

For more information please on the festival visit www.cirencesterharefestival.org.uk

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