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OAK APPLE WEEKEND AT THE COMMANDERY

Re-enactors, dancers and entertainers will bring Oak Apple Day to life at the historic Commandery in Worcester for the weekend of Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May (10-5pm Sat, 1.30-5pm Sun).

The 350 year-old spring tradition will be revived for a whole weekend this year at The Commandery, where a celebratory 17th century fete will be thrown to remember the day that Charles II was restored to the throne. Visitors welcomed during the weekend can meet civilians from the restoration period in a 17th century coffee house and learn more about Oak Apple Day's origins, cheer on the traditional maypole or Morris dancers, and learn some showy skills with the Entertainer's tuition.

The weekend will culminate in a humorous performance of Charles II's escape after losing at the Battle of Worcester on the Sunday.

Oak Apple Day arose from events on the 29 May 1660, when Charles II returned from exile to London to reclaim the throne. He had escaped enemy soldiers after The Battle of Worcester by hiding in an oak tree. Charles, who loved an excuse for celebration, declared the day a public holiday and The Commandery will be befittingly covered in oak leaves on the anniversary of these events which are closely tied into Worcester's civil war past.

David Nash, Manager of The Commandery, said: "Last year's event was a wonderful bringing together of The Commandery's civil war history and a cheerful spring celebration for local families."

"This special tradition has such relevance for Worcester that we have hopes for it to spread across the city in future."

'Oak-and-nettle Day' is another name for the festival. Children would once shout "Show your oak!" to each another and those found not to be wearing a sprig of oak leaves risked being whipped with stinging-nettles.

Meemee café at The Commandery will be open all weekend serving tea, coffee, cakes and lunch with peaceful (and nettle-free) seating in the canal-side gardens.

Entry to Oak Apple Weekend is free for Worcester City residents. For those outside the city an adult ticket which includes entry to The Commandery is just £5.50 and children £2.50. For more information contact The Commandery on 01905 361821 or for event details and visitor information see: www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk