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Punch and Judy professors will gather at The Big Grin festival in Covent Garden this weekend to celebrate the 350th birthday of Mr Punch. The first sighting of Mr Punch was recorded by diarist Samuel Pepys in Covent Garden in 1662.
To mark the anniversary, London has been awarded a new Guinness World Record for the world’s first recorded Mr Punch puppet show. The award is part of World Record London, a series of world record attempts in London this year.
You can join the celebrations in Covent Garden over the weekend. On Saturday there’s a Big 350 Birthday Party with shows by top Punch and Judy performers from around the world, plus a birthday parade and a birthday cake ceremony in a giant booth.
On Sunday there’s a special edition of the traditional Punch and Judy May Fayre in the churchyard of St Paul’s Covent Garden (known as the Actors’ Church), including a procession and a church service with Mr Punch in the pulpit.
- The Big Grin, Covent Garden, 12-13 May 2012
Update on 14 May: Here’s a great video of the celebrations!