A man in a sardine tin, a giant on a Segway, and four huge guinea pigs all braved freezing conditions for this year’s Seething Festival in Surbiton.
Residents piled into St Andrew’s Square on Sunday to celebrate the mythical victory of heroic goat-boy Lefi Ganderson over the dastardly giant Thamas Deeton.
Bewildered bystanders then witnessed the traditional procession through Surbiton, with dozens of guild members – cheesemakers, talcum miners, taxonomists, curriers and water-bearers – led by a model of the giant himself to musical accompaniment.
Owen Robinson, 11, watched the procession pass by Sainsbury’s in Victoria Road. He said: “It’s really loud, and quite weird.”
Onlooker Sandie Syme, visiting her son in Surbiton, said: “We need as much madness as possible at the moment. Surbiton’s got such a nice community spirit – I suppose it goes back to the Good Life.”
Co-organiser Aniela Zaba was surprised by the number of people who come along in spite of bad weather.
She said: “We really embrace where we live. You watch as the procession goes round and people join in – it gets bigger and bigger every year.
“We’ve been called everything from zany to bonkers to madcap.”
The fictional tale of Lefi and the giant was cooked up by cheese-lovers from the Homage de Fromage club at Brighton Road pub The Lamb.
And “Lamblord” Adam Lewis was on hand on Sunday to play the part of the giant Thamas, with colleagues Rob and Georgia ensuring high spirits behind a portable bar in St Andrew’s Square.
Profits from the tent will go to one of the Kingston Mayor’s charities, the Community Brain.
Myth-enthusiast Robin Hutchinson is one of the originators of the Lefi legend. He said: “Events like this are about allowing people to rediscover the child inside them.
“There’s something quite magical about fun. There’s a danger we live a life without an opportunity to let go and smile.”
Children were entertained by players acting out the legend, including a dramatic reading.