Kilburn Feast

Unfortunately the 2020 Kilburn Feast and road race planned for July 12th has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns

It has been a tough decision, but following current Government Coronavirus guidelines and expectations the Feast Committee have decided that the prudent action to take is to cancel the Kilburn Feast planned for July 12th, 2020.

Whilst we fervently hope that the current crisis has passed by July we are faced with a situation that planning has become very difficult with many of the organising team in self-isolation and we recognise that the road race registrations are understandably very low. Now that road race is cancelled the runners that have registered will be able to get their fees returned with no penalty. Please contact Peter James (contact details below) if you have any problems with this.

We really appreciate your support of this annual event and hopefully we will be able to re-organise for July 2021.

Wishing you all the very best in these difficult times.

Keith Lewis

2020 Kilburn Feast Chairman


This is Kilburn's most famous annual event, and has existed "from time immemorial". It is governed by the Sunday after July 6th, which in the Old Style Calendar (succeeded by the New Style in 1752) is June 24th, St. John Baptist's Day, Midsummer, and in the past lasted up to four days; Saturday to Tuesday. The student of folklore may find that essential elements of the Feast are a compound of winter, spring and midsummer fertility rites dating back to the dawn of history (Ref. 2).

It survives as one of the most significant events in the life of the Kilburn Villagers.

Looking back to the Millennium Feast you will see that little has really changed in the last 20 years……………

Kilburn Feast 2000

A game of rounders, fifty or so local people cheering 200 plastic ducks down the beck, betting on six 'mice' being propelled across a wooden board, and driving to various local pubs to collect playing cards for a hand of poker, may be a far cry from the thousands flocking to the cricket field to watch anything from motor cycles, greyhounds and racing sulkies, to carthorses competing in musical chairs, or women chasing cockerels, but some elements of Kilburn Feast still remain after many, many years.

Although, with the exception of the outdoor service; which may be surprising in these days of falling church attendances, it is these very traditional aspects of the Feast which are proving most difficult to continue into this century. There are almost insufficient numbers of children to make the 'Sports' viable, and the quoits was only saved at the last minute after no-one with the knowledge was prepared to run it, but it is the event which gives the Feast its quaint uniqueness which is the one most likely to prove its downfall. Without the Lord Mayor's Parade, the Feast becomes almost pointless, and tradition dictates that the Lord Mayor's Lady Mayoress is a young man of the village; unfortunately, whilst there are several young men living in present day Kilburn, none of them has the courage to put a frock on.

It is the custom that the Lord Mayor, resplendent in top hat and frock coat, is empowered to tour the village in his man-pulled carriage lavishly decorated in flowers of all sorts in order to extract fines from villagers and passers-by. He fines the landlord a barrel of ale, which duly appears and is consumed by the throng. Meanwhile the Lady Mayoress, heavily made up in lipstick, is chasing the ladies of the village in order to deliver the seal of her approval. Both of them dispense sweets for the children as they ride the high street. In terms of general amusement the Feast hardly gets on the first rung of the ladder, but in these days of housing estates and boxed entertainment we are surely privileged to live in a village that can boast a tradition which has existed 'from time immemorial' and if, in the process of organising a couple of days local fun, £600 can be raised for good causes in our area, such as preserving the White Horse, Vale watch, Hospitals, and the Sunday School, it must be worthwhile.

Contacts for Kilburn Feast

Feast Chair: Keith Lewis Tel: 07852127273 email:

Feast Race Director: Peter James email: