Lyme Regis: Horace the pliosaur to set the scene for Jurassic Coast festival (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Lyme Regis: Horace the pliosaur to set the scene for Jurassic Coast festival
IT WILL be a giant Jurassic jamboree when the seventh Lyme Regis Fossil Festival hits town this weekend.
Fossil hunters, some of the country’s top scientists, news on “flying dragons” and Horace the giant pliosaur with a cinema in his stomach are just a few of the elements on offer during the festival, which runs from Friday to Sunday.
And the festival marks the start of The Jurassic Coast Earth Festival 2012, a celebration of England’s only natural World Heritage Site fusing art and theatre with science as part of the Cultural Olympiad for London 2012.
Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the town for the festival, which this year has the theme, Discovering Earth.
And their first experience is likely to be meeting Horace, a life-size interactive 32-feet-long pliosaur on the Cobb Gate car park.
Audiences are invited to explore Horace and prepare him for the day before venturing into his cavernous belly on a cinematic journey.
Horace was built by a team led by Sarah Butterworth.
His carer Joe, played by Sarah, and Ringmaster Dr Davidson, played by Peter Courtenay, will entertain audiences with stories of Horace’s life.
Sarah said: “A huge amount of research has gone into Horace.
“He was inspired by the pliosaur skull that was found in Weymouth Bay a few years ago and is now centerpiece of the Jurassic Gallery at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.
“We’ve worked with the Jurassic Coast team and paleontologist Prof Leslie Noe to make sure that our performance is as scientifically accurate as possible.”
Horace, who has been awarded the Cultural Olympiad’s Inspire Mark, will be performing from 11am to 5pm from Friday to Sunday.
The Natural History Museum will be sending scientists to the festival.
They will be in a grand marquee with hands-on activities for the family, including the chance to sieve sand for prehistoric sharks’ teeth.
The British Antarctic Survey team is back this year, bringing fossil samples from the polar region.
A team from the University of Portsmouth will be telling the crowds about their research into pterosaurs, the “flying dragons” and how analysing their footprints are revealing more about how the creatures moved and lived.
Onboard with Jurassic Airlines will offer the chance to take a simulated flight along the coast.
A WiFi link has been installed to enable the Collaborative Curiosity project to download and map the public’s own finds from their smartphones.
Organiser Kimberly Clarke said that the link with the start of the Jurassic Earth Festival makes this year’s Lyme event even more memorable, adding: “People are thinking about the World Heritage Site and in a year when we are welcoming the world for the Olympics.”
Visit fossilfestival.com for more.
LYME Regis Museum has announced its programme for the Fossil Festival weekend.
Among the range of events on offer, Chris Paul will talk about the lives of ammonites.
Tom Sharpe from the National Museum of Wales is lending archive material on Mary Anning’s fossil-hunting men friends and will give audiences an insight into the relationships between them.
More details on the programme are available from the museum in Bridge Street on 01297 443370 or on lymeregismuseum.co.uk