IT'S time to dust off your hat, as planning for a popular festival is underway.

The ninth Bridport Hat Festival is set to return to the town this September, with 'Haturday' this year set for Saturday, September 1.

This year, the crowd-pleasing events set to return include the Mass Hatted Photoshoot at 1pm in Bucky Doo Square, followed by the public 'fun' hat competitions, the Best Hatted Dog Competition from 11am on the Millennium Green and the festival favourite Hank Wangford's regular Lost Boys Concert, which will close the festival this year on the Saturday night at the arts centre.

For the first time, some of the competitions have been expanded and moved to the Millennium Green, where they will be under the watchful eye of sponsor and HatFest founder Roger Snook.

Roger will be providing his special sophisticated treatment when judging, while his traditional morning talk has been taken over by hat shop staffer Sue Outhwaite.

For young festival attendees, a Mad Hatters Tea Party will take place at the Millennium Green, where a gazebo will be set up for the afternoon.

Live music will be played both indoors and outdoors on 'Haturday', as well as an array of food and drinks at the various trade stands.

In the build-up to the festival, several events will take place during the week.

On Tuesday, August 28, a hat-themed quiz and raffle will take place at the Ropemakers from 8pm for all to attend, and on Thursday, August 30, a hat auction will take place at the Bridport and West Dorset Club from 8pm, with auctioneer Jim Rowe set to return.

A spokesman for the festival said: "If anyone wishes to donate surplus hats to the auction, the Hat Amnesty is forthwith declared, with the collection point at Snooks hat shop in West Street.

"As ever, profits raised from the auction and indeed the rest of the festival will go to head-related charities including Brain Tumour Research and the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust.

"And also, as ever, the festival organisers hope the townsfolk of Bridport will not only turn up hatted on the day, but give some active support to the organisation as well, so should anyone be willing to lend some time (or even skills) in the run-up or even just on the day, to help the festival happen, the committee would be delighted to hear from you."

To find out more about Bridport Hat Festival, you can email or call 01308 250350.

For more information on the programme for the festival, visit