The Yorkshire Fossil Festival!

Every May, the Dorset town of Lyme Regis has a very successful fossil festival. Up here in in the desolate north, we've been getting a bit jealous. So this September, Mary Anning's Feast of Fossil Fun will acquire a sister project. The inaugural Yorkshire Fossil Festival is coming to Scarborough!

Scarborough's lovely South Bay.

Centred around the wonderful Rotunda Museum, designed by William 'Strata' Smith, Father of English Geology, the Yorkshire Fossil Festival will run from Friday September 12th to Sunday September 14th. It is being organized by the Scarborough Museums Trust, Hidden Horizons and the Palaeontological Association, with displays and events from the Natural History Museum, the Geological Society, the Yorkshire Museum, the Scarborough Sea Life Centre, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Durham universities, and many other societies and organizations.

The Rotunda Museum, Scarborough.

All three days will be open to the public, free of charge, and will feature all manner of fossily goodness. You'll be able to go walking with dinosaurs, climb inside a Jurassic sea creature, paint your way through geological time, and even watch a fossiliferous cricket match. And all in the most marvellous Yorkshire coastal setting.

Friday will be a schools' day, with activities for primary schools in the morning and secondary schools and colleges in the afternoon. Friday night will then feature a public talk by Professor Hugh Torrens on the amazing life of William Smith, the blacksmith's son who moved to Scarborough in poverty and shame, but ended up becoming one of the most famous scientists of his age.

On Saturday, the festival will be in full swing with activities all the way from the beach to the museum. Artists will be transforming the subway into a spectacular submarine mural, scientists will be on their soapboxes explaining the work they do, and the Rotunda Geology Group will be leading geology walks around Scarborough. At 4pm, Dr Mike Romano of Sheffield University will tell tales of his work tracking dinosaurs along the Yorkshire Coast, and at 7.30pm there will a 'Stand Up For Fossils' comedy event.

Sunday will see yet more fun and games in the museum, in the marquees, and out and about in town. On behalf of the Yorkshire Geological Society, Mr John Hudson will head a Jurassic jaunt down the Dinosaur Coast, whilst the afternoon will see the Authors Cricket Club – founded by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, no less – take on the slightly less distinguished Piltdown XI, a team made up of palaeontologists, geologists and archaeologists. We then hope to wrap up the festival with an evening fundraising auction, where you might be able to buy your very own Tyrannosaurus rex*.

So if fossils, rocks, nature and the seaside are your thing, make a note in your diary. The Yorkshire Fossil Festival is coming to Scarborough and it's going to be out of this world!

*you won't, sorry. I was exaggerating for effect.