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It’s September! So what’s on in Essex this month?

It's back to school for the kiddos, but the fun never stops for us grown-ups. Don't miss the brand-new festivals, outdoor art installations, music events, and more on in Essex this month.

COMEDY: The Garden Gatherings, Leigh-on-Sea, 3-5 Sept

Who’s up for a brand-spanking-new, three-day festival of comedy festival? Ooh, me, me! Taking place in the Leigh Library Gardens, The Garden Gatherings will kick off with an evening of rib-tickling open-air comedy (hullo Jayde Adams, Carl Donnelly, and the like), followed by an afternoon of music curated by Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. (that’s a stage name — could you guess?) that will culminate in the live debut of GCWCF’s new project. Both these events are ticketed, but the third day is a cheeky extra freebie, available for all: a full day of live music, children’s entertainment, theatre, storytelling, craft beer, street food and more. See ya there.

FAMILY FUN: Safari Trail, Brentwood, Shenfield and Ingatestone, until 3 Sept

The dream trip to Kenya may be put off for another year, but you can still wonder among the wildlife right here in Essex (erm, sort of). On this Safari Trail and you’ll find a dozen wild animals hanging around in Brentwood, Shenfield and Ingatestone… But first, download the booklet, which includes a map of the beasties’ locations. Once your intrepid rangers have located all 12 of them, submit your entry, and you could scoop a wild prize, such as trip to Colchester Zoo and vouchers to spend locally.

WEDDING EVENT: Inspiration Open Day, Wivenhoe House, Colchester, 4 Sept

Ding dong! Is that a ring on your finger? You’ll be wanting a serious dose of wedding inspo then, so head on over to the free wedding open day at Muddy Awards Wedding Venue winner Wivenhoe House. I’ll be awaiting my save the date…

MARKETS: Pop-up and vegan markets, Crown Street, Brentwood, 4 & 5 Sept.

Anyone fancy a nosy around some independent market stalls? Thought you might: how about a visit to the exciting new markets taking place in and around charming Crown Street, which is hosting a Pop-Up Marketplace (4 Sept) and a Vegan Market (5 Sept).

PETS: Woof Fest, Parlour Café, Creeksea Place Barns, 9 Sept

Time to show Fido you love him: Parlour Café’s Woof Fest boasts pet ‘paw’-traits, a doggy talent show (waggiest tail, anyone?), stalls to sniff through, and much more family fun on top. The clincher? The event’s being held in aid of the charities Spirit of the Dog and The Dengie Lost Dog Search and Rescue Team, complete with charity raffle.

ART TRAIL: Hares about Town, Southend-on-Sea, until 12 Sept

Grab your little folks and hop on over to check out Hares about Town, which will see the whole of Southend-on-Sea – from seafront to Priory Park – filled with 30 giant hares. Each of these big-eared beauties has been individually designed by a local artist and sponsored by a business, with the money raised going towards Havens Hospices. As well as the big hares, there are over 50 leverets (baby hares to you and me), all created by local schools and groups across the borough.

MUSIC: Abba Tribute Night, Orsett Hall, Southend-on-Sea, 17 Sept

Dig out those flares, slap on some sparkle, and settle in for a sleeve-shaking good time at this unapologetically kitsch Abba Tribute Night. You know you love it really, and you’ll love it even more for the included three course meal and half bottle of Prosecco each…

WEDDING EVENT: It’s a Total Shed Show!, Creeksea Place Farm, 19 Sept

Expect gowns, canapés, makeup trials, gin sampling (ooh, go on then), decor previews, and much, much more… Frankly, it’s tempting to have a mosey on down even without a wedding in the future, if only for the cake tasting.

ART TRAIL: Farewell to Hares about Town, Southend-on-Sea, 24–26 Sept

Well, the hares couldn’t stay forever… but before they hop off to greener pastures, check out all 30 hares and 57 leverets altogether in a final special exhibition. As well as those powerful-legged sculptures, you can expect children’s rides, craft stalls, street food, a bar, and much more. All proceeds from the event will go towards Havens Hospices.

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