Maze Festivals in Saffron Walden were organised by the Saffron Walden Initiative in 2011, 2013 and 2016. It is hoped that another Festival can be organised in August 2019.
The third Saffron Walden Maze Festival took place on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August 2016. It included the opening of a new maze by international maze guru Jeff Saward. The child-friendly maze is next to the path from Swan Meadow car park to the town centre. Designed by John Ready, the layout of the hedging and conservation paving spells out "Saffron Walden Amazes".
Barbara Wilcox, Festival co-ordinator on behalf of the Saffron Walden Initiative, said: “Saffron Walden is the only place in the UK with two historic mazes. The Victorian hedge maze in Bridge End Garden was completed in 1840 and the turf maze on the Common is the largest in the world and was created in or around 1699. We set up the Festival to celebrate this unique selling point for the town and are delighted that we are about to hold the third Festival - and open the fourth permanent public maze in the town.”
The Festival had something for everyone and nearly all the events were free. Saffron Walden was full of mazes and labyrinths plus music, dancing, exhibitions, talks, walks, art and craft workshops and comedy.
Highlights included a specially commissioned play for each maze, performed by Sheer Drop Theatre Company; a night vision goggle maze from Carver Barracks; quilted labyrinths by German artist Marianne Leidenroth; keynote talk on modern labyrinths and their role in education and health, by labyrinth facilitator, lecturer and writer Dr Jan Sellers; Music for the Maze Festival with singer Ranjana Ghatak and bassist Liran Donin presented by Saffron Hall at St Mary's Parish Church; and the Festival Finale with glow stick and torch processions on the turf maze and a final crescendo of fireworks.
The Festival was the result of over a year’s hard work by volunteers, with fantastic support from Saffron Walden Town Council, Uttlesford District Councillors, Arts in Essex, Croucher Needham, NFU Mutual, Waitrose and Saffron Walden Arts Trust. For the full programme of events see the Festival website.