Inspired by the success of Audlem's established programme of Festivals, a new celebration is being added later this month, April being one of the few months of the year without a major event in the village calendar.
The Audlem Bear Baiting & Cock Fighting Jamboree will take place over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd April with the Saturday being given over to bear baiting using the historic bear stone near the steps up to St James' church.
Entertainment at the Festival will be by musically-inclined members of ABBA (Audlem Bear Baiting Association) and re-enactments of nineteenth century cock fights by CBCF (Coxbank Cock Fighters – a little known group until now and previously thought to be small football club with a dyslexic secretary).
Buerton, whose logo (seen here to the right) confirms its interest in the controversial pastime and is thought to be involved in the festival's plans too.
There was, we are told, serious concern about how to acquire a reasonable number of bears to satisfy demand but, it appears, a number of circuses were obliging whilst some recent arrivals from the more far flung corners of the EU have enjoyed the sports for years and brought their bears with them when they migrated to Britain.
The Cock Fighting programme on Sunday – dedicated to the great 'Cockfighter Bellyse' – sees Coxbank riding to the fore.
Historically, Coxbank – as suggested by its name – was an infamous cock rearing centre. Depending on which county's police force was trying to stamp out the sport on a particular day, its location meant that breeders could swing their prescious cocks to and fro across the Cheshire/Shropshire border which runs through the remote hamlet
An organiser of the Jamboree, who did want to be named, said they had arranged the event for a weekend because this would attract crowds from far afield and would guarantee there was no police presence in the village.
The spokesman added that the event may not be suitable for small children, pacifists, vegetarians and vegans.
AudlemOnline's animal welfare correspondent, Avril Fouliere, has volunteered to man the microphones to commentate and explain the intricacies of both sports.
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