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Ottery Tar Barrels

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What are the Ottery Tar Barrels?

Since the 17th century, and for reasons that have been lost to history, every year tar barrels are lit up outside of pubs and carried through the streets on the backs of locals in the quaint English village of Ottery St. Mary. 

In the weeks leading up to the festival, which always takes place on November 5, the barrels are soaked in tar. Each barrel is sponsored by a different pub.

On the night of the festival, the barrels are lit with spectators packed in around the streets and alleys to get a good view.

The day begins in the afternoon with women's and boy's barrels, but as the day progresses, the barrels that are hoisted onto the backs of the villagers grow larger and larger. 

This is a quintessentially quirky event that is not to be missed!

Need to Know

Ottery St. Mary is located east of Exeter, in Southwestern England. Admission is free. 

Did you Know?

Although the exact origin of the festival is unknown, many believe that the origin is a pagan ritual that cleaned the streets of evil spirits. 

For more information on this fascinating event, click on the link provided on this page. Don't forget to rate and review it right here and share your experience with the community!

02 November 2024


Start Date:
02 November,2024
End Date:
02 November,2024
Event Website:
United Kingdom - England

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