Bridport Hat Festival is an excuse to get creative and have fun - but where did it all start?

Roger Snook, owner of T. Snook: Hatters and Outfitters, started the festival in 2010 because he didn't want to see the demise of the hat.

Speaking to the Bridport News last year, he said: "People kept saying that the hat is no more. John F Kennedy (JFK) was the demise of the hat for gents.

"When president of the United States of America, he was the first president to never wear a hat, and hat wearing dropped.

"Twenty years ago, people were saying hats were finished, but they aren't.

"We wanted to make sure it wasn't lost, and thought about how we would love to have some sort of festival where people could get together with friends."

The festival celebrates Bridport's hat heritage. When the trade routes to France were cut off during the French Revolution, census data for people living in North and West Allington revealed that people were listed as 'hat weavers' or 'flax doily weavers'.

The industry died out after the revolution, but is now growing again in this country.

Mr Snook wanted to prove that hats were not 'dead' and so the idea was born. The original idea of the festival was to involve hats and jazz, but ended up focusing solely on hats.

Mr Snook said: "It was a lot of hard work, and none of us knew if the concept would work.

"Once we started to put it together, we got to know more about what we we were doing."

Since the first festival in 2010, which saw 4,000 people attend, organisers now see around 15,000-16,000 attend the yearly event.

Mr Snook said: "It's a ridiculous idea but the people of Bridport love it."

The festival has received international attention; in 2012, Nigerian designer Matthew Eluwande's hat won the top prize a week after winning in Paris.

Customers of Roger's also told him that on a trip to California, they visited a hat shop, and when they told the owner where they were from, he recognised Bridport from the hat festival.

The event raises the profile of Bridport, but, on a more serious note, raises thousands of pounds for head-related charities.

The festival donates all profits (except running costs) to head-related charities and regularly donates to Brain Tumour Research and the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust. If enough funds are raised in any given year

(through sponsorship, raffles etc, and donations including tin-rattling on the day) the hat festival helps other, more local, head-related good causes as well.