On November the 5th (or November the 4th if the 5th happens
to fall on a Sunday), the good citizens of Ottery St Mary, having
little interest in a certain failed coup d'état of 1605,
organise Tar Barrels Night. On this occasion, people haul flaming
tar barrels onto their backs and run around the crowded streets.
The custom is thought to have originated in the 17th Century,
the reasons for it being long forgotten.
If you intend
to participate in the celebrations (passive watching is not an
option if you are on the streets, you have to be prepared to
get out of the way), note that the late night activities are
unsuitable for small children. Children's Tar Barrels
commences at about 16:00 and is suitable for small children provided
that they are carried or placed somewhere out of the shifting