A HUGE celebration of the arts is opening in Winchester today.

Friday is the start of Hat Fair, which will run until Sunday, July 3.

The fair is the UK’s longest running festival of outdoor arts, taking over the streets and green spaces of Winchester city centre.

It kicks off at midday with the carnival.

Andrew Loretto, director of the Hat Fair, said he is looking forward to this year’s extravaganza.

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He is hopeful about weather conditions and is “hoping audiences will pick up” compared to last year’s restricted event.

Andrew said his role in the festival is “complex and has involved a great deal of artistic mentoring”.

The festival held a preview of “A Handful of Dreams” on Thursday evening in Busket Yard.

Luckily the weather held for the event, which attracted a large crowd.

The amazing and heart-warming outdoor show combined circus arts with live Irish traditional music and dance, and captivated the audience.

‘A Handful of Dreams’ is inspired by the poem ‘The Stolen Child’ by William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939), which Andrew described as an exploration of “innocence”.

The musical score embraces a world of contemporary composition and sound design, bringing a unique mix of chants and world beats to an entirely sonic climax.

For more on the Har Fair go to hatfair.co.uk/

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