Allendale - Tar Barrels, New Year's Eve, December 31st - at 11.30pm on New Years Eve, 30 or so men in costume carry burning tar barrels on their heads to the bonfire in the market square where they are thrown at midnight. Contact Hexham TIC +44(0)1434 605225 or e-mail hexham.tic [at] tynedale.gov.uk
Berwick on Tweed - Riding the Bounds, May Day - a 10-mile perambulation of the parish bounds on horseback by the mayor and officials. Some of the parish boundaries are borders with Scotland. Registeration is necessary for anyone who wants to participate. Contact Liz Hope at Berwick Borough Council, +44(0)1289 330044.
Brinkburn Priory (near Rothbury) - Snowdrops in February.
Morpeth - Northumbrian Gathering, April - started in 1966 as a modest concert of Northumbrian music, this is now a festival of concert, singarounds, barn dances, storytelling, theatre, street performances, pageants, competitions for crafts, performance and writing. Also events of local interest. Contact the local TIC, +44(0)1670 511323. Also, Riding the Bounds, usually on the third week in April on a Thursday. Riding of the Bounds is followed by a horse race on the Common.
Newcastle upon Tyne - Town Moor Fair. Held in mid-June, this is a relative newcomer to the fairground calendar. It began in 1882 as the Newcastle upon Tyne Temperance Association Festival (still its official title) and, despite a faltering start, grew to become what is now the largest funfair in Britain (if not Europe), occupying 40 acres of the Town Moor - a one-thousand-acre area of common land that has been there since Norman times. It is known locally as 'the Hoppings', a generic term that predates the Town Moor Fair, and which was commonly applied to other, mainly rural events on Tyneside, where dancing - or 'hopping' - formed part of the day's entertainments.
North Shields - Blessing of the Fleet, June, on the first day of the free music festival, Orange Wow (Window on the World), once the Fish Quay Festival and now one of the biggest music festivals in Europe. Contact +44(0)191 200 8909.
Apple Day, October 21st
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