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12 wacky and wonderful things to look forward to in 2015

Posted at 1:30 pm, January 14, 2015 in Arts & Entertainment
A photograph of Hammersmith Bridge - a bridge over the Thames in London - at dusk.

Big gigs? Pah! Blockbuster movies? Borrrrring! Dan Frost maps out a year of alternative events including mourning clowns, marching cavaliers and, of course, Morris men.

January

Charles I Execution Commemoration
Want to get cavalier with a musket? Then head down to Whitehall where members of the English Civil War Society will be dressing as seventeenth-century soldiers to commemorate Charles I losing his head in 1649. Jan 25, The Mall, SW1.

February

Grimaldi Memorial Clown

Clowns’ Church Service
London’s weirdest church service sees dozens of clowns gather each February to pay tribute to Victorian entertainer Joseph Grimaldi, the father of modern clowning. Traditionally held at Holy Trinity in Dalston, which is temporarily housing a primary school, it’ll be at All Saints Haggerston in 2015. Coulrophobes, steer clear.Feb 1, All Saints, Haggerston, E8 4EZ.

March

London Comic Con © Patrick Dalton© Patrick Dalton

London Super Comic Convention
The fanboys and fangirls who descend on this annual graphic extravaganza are so into their costuming and roleplay that the event website has an entire section devoted to its ‘weapons policy’. There’s always one! Mar 14 and 15, Excel Centre, E16 1XL.

April

Goat race

The Goat Race
On the same day that rowing toffs take to the Thames, two goats – one called Oxford, one called Cambridge – race each other in east London for one of the animal kingdom’s most prestigious trophies. We kid you not. Apr 11, Spitalfields City Farm, E1 5AR.

canalway

May

Canalway Calvacade

The pretty waterways of Little Venice will be even more colourful than usual for this annual bank holiday weekend gathering of canal boats which has been going since 1983. Around 130 boats in fancy dress will be moored along the stretch of the Grand Union Canal between Blomfield Road, Warwick Avenue and Warwick Crescent and there will be lots of very British fun including morris dancers and a real ale tent.  May 2-4, Little Venice, between Blomfield Rd Warwick Avenue and Warwick Crescent, W9 2PB

June

World Naked Bike Ride

World Naked Bike Ride
What could be better than biking around London in the buff? A lot of things probably, but try telling that to the hundreds who go skin-to-saddle each year. If you fancy a laugh, watch the ride at a particularly potholed section of the route. Date tbc, around London.

July

Swan Upping
A census of all the swans living on the Thames? That’s just the kind of wacky nation we are. Teams of colourfully dressed rowers spend five days capturing, measuring, tagging and then releasing all of the swans on the river as part of a ceremony that dates back to the twelfth century. Third week in July, along the Thames, from Middlesex to Oxfordshire.

August

paw pageant

Old Spitalfields Paw Pageant
From debonair dachshunds to swanky spaniels, pouting pooches of every shape and size will be wagging their costumed tails on the dogwalk at this popular canine fashion show. Never seen a dog dressed like a Frenchman before? You need this in your life. Aug 31, Old Spitalfields Market, E1 6EW.

September

The Great Gorilla Run

Great Gorilla Run
Hundreds of gorillas loping through the City can mean only one thing. No, not a London Zoo breakout but hordes of conservation-conscious funrunners, all raising money to protect the giant apes from poachers. Sep 19, start and finish Mincing Lane EC3R 7DD.

October

October Plenty and Apple Day
This autumnal celebration will see Morris men prancing in the Bankside streets alongside pseudo-pagan characters such as the Berry Man and the Corne Queene. Their procession will make its way to Borough Market for Apple Day, which is, well, a day devoted to apples… duh! Date tbc, Bankside and Borough Market, SE1.

November

Witchfest
Every year, one of the world’s biggest gatherings of witchcraft fans comes to… drum roll… Croydon. Yup, as strange as it sounds, the wand-and-broomstick brigade swap spells and rock out to magical music in deepest south London. Date tbc, Fairfield Halls, Croydon.

December

Peter Pan Club

Peter Pan Cup
Ever since 1864, brave/ crazy swimmers have met on Christmas morning at the Serpentine in Hyde Park to race each other across its icy waters. Why? Wish we knew. Dec 25, Hyde Park, W2.

Find more things to look forward to in 2015.

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