Ottery- St Mary’s Tar Barrels

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014

This was by far the most Quirky event I have ever photographed.

Locals of Ottery carry the annual tradition of racing through the town with flaming tar barrels on their shoulders.

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014
If you are born and raised in St Mary’s then you earn the right to participate in this event.

The way it’s set up is throughout the town, specific points (usually pubs) are chosen. A new barrel is set ablaze and the chosen locals run in any direction, racing through the crowds (whom move surprisingly fast to dodge the flaming balls of fire)

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014
Why? This is a tradition the town has held annually for centuries and of course the origins of the beautifully bizarre event are unknown, but many suggestions have ben thrown out there from the villagers try to cast out evil lingering spirits from the town, to the warning that the spainsih armada was approaching (1605)

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014

The Tar Barrels of Ottery, 2014
I plan to go back next year, with a better development in photography skills but mainly just to go back and see the event again!

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