Discovering the coast at Fossil Festival

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: LOTS ON OFFER: Jonny Hoskins shows pupils from Portesham Primary School, Horace the travelling Pliosaur Cinema at last year’s event LOTS ON OFFER: Jonny Hoskins shows pupils from Portesham Primary School, Horace the travelling Pliosaur Cinema at last year’s event

DISCOVER the Jurassic Coast in all its glory as fossil enthusiasts flock to this year’s Lyme Regis Fossil Festival.

The 2014 festival theme is ‘Citizen Science’ which aims to engage people of all ages to understand and appreciate natural sciences, and also inspire the next generation of scientists.

The festival, running this weekend from May 1 to May 4, marks the town’s ninth festival staged with the Natural History Museum, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Team, Lyme Regis Museum, Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre and local fossil collectors and experts.

Visitors are encouraged to get involved in hands-on activities while local collectors can sell their finds in the fossil fair.

Kimberly Clarke, fossil festival director, said: “The Fossil Festival is really fun for the family; an event that children, parents and grandparents can all take part in.

“Visitors can speak to some of the top paleontologists in the country and people can also chat to and buy items from local fossil collectors with the fossil fair running from Friday to Monday.

“Our opening night event sees comedian and Radio 4 presenter Robin Ince perform at the Marine Theatre.

“We have a secondary schools day in Dorchester on Thursday with different scientists in different disciplines who can help children think about education choices.

“We also have a day for primary schools on Friday, May 2, with 600 students from Dorset and Devon who can interact with scientists from the Natural History Museum and the Palaentological Association.

“Saturday and Sunday are then days open to the public from 10am until 5pm with a wide range of activities.

“When people visit events in Lyme Regis such as the Fossil Festival, they’re always more likely to come back to the town again.”

There will be a puppet theatre called ‘Lyme Regis Rocks’ at the Jubilee Pavilion, written especially for the festival by Jane Leakey of the Fat Cat Theatre Company.

Events also include a discover microfossils workshop, a number of art exhibitions, a dinosaur runway and more.

Last year’s festival celebrated ‘Coastal Treasures’ and thousands of people explored the coast’s marine habitats and cliffs.

Crowds of more than 12,000 people attended over the four days, including 600 pupils on the two schools days.

The festival relies on volunteers to make it a success so if you think you can help, or for more information, visit fossilfestival.co.uk.

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