Bells and a great deal of bellowing will be heard in Otley later this month, as town criers from across the country unite to shout it out for a top title.
Contestants will try to outshout each other on September 22, in a bid for top spot in the second annual Otley Open Town Crier Competition.
Each will be judged on two cries: one extolling virtues of their hometown, and the other a ‘subject cry’ on World Car-Free Day, that shares the date.
The office of Otley Bellman has been around since the Middle Ages and current incumbent, Terry Ford, has won a string of gongs, including that of 2017 national champion.
As home crier, Terry will welcome contestants including last year’s champion, Elizabeth Anderson-Watson, the Barnoldswick Town Crier, to compete in the historic Market Place.
Sixteen town criers will parade through town, with consorts, before the hotly anticipated shouting starts at 11.30am.
Competing under Loyal Company of Town Criers rules, contestants will vie for titles of Overall Winner, Runner Up, Best Dressed Town Crier, Best Dressed Consort and Best Ambassador. Following a presentation, members of the public can have a go at ‘crying’ themselves.
Otley Folk Festivalis the same weekend, and Boroughgate will be pedestrianised for World Car-Free Day.
Chair of Otley Town Council’s trade and tourism committee, Coun Paul Carter, said: “Last year’s competition was hotly contested and we expect similar rivalry in 2019. Along with the Otley Folk Festival and World Car-Free Day, it will make for an excellent weekend out for all the family here in beautiful Otley.” See visitotley.co.uk and otleytowncouncil.gov.uk for more details.