The Yorkshire Fossil Festival returns to Scarborough this September, with a weekend of activities and events for all the family, for enthusiasts and professionals, on-site and online – and most of them free.

The event, based around Scarborough’s Spa on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September will feature displays and activities from local and national museums, universities and businesses, providing entertainment and expertise. Fossil experts from across the UK will be on hand to show their amazing discoveries and are inviting festival-goers to bring along their own fossils for identification.

This year’s festival is funded by Scarborough Museums and Galleries, Scarborough Borough Council and the Yorkshire Coast BID, and the launch day on Friday 16 September will feature events especially for schools. The festival weekend will then see award-winning scientist and entertainer Steve ‘The Rock Showman’ Cousins take on the role of Festival Ringmaster at Scarborough Spa. Steve will bring fossils to life with his team of palaeo-performers, both inside and outside the Spa.

The Spa will host free public talks by Dr Katie Strang, whose @palaeokatie Twitter account has nearly 12,000 followers; geologist and gemmologist Sarah Caldwell Steele, whose academic research is centred around Whitby Jet (find her on Instagram @jetrockgirl), and geologist Professor Chris Jackson, who appeared in the BBC documentary Expedition Volcano and presented the 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on BBC Four.

In-person exhibitors at this year’s Yorkshire Fossil Festival will include the Isle of Wight’s Dinosaur Isle Museum, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Geologists’ Association and the University of Leeds. Local adventure and education specialists Hidden Horizons will run dinosaur footprint-hunting trips in Scarborough’s South Bay, and the festival has once more teamed up with the cinema at the Stephen Joseph Theatre to screen a day of fossil- and dinosaur-themed films.

Visitors to the Brunswick Centre will also get to see the story of ‘Bernie Stone’, the giant dinosaur footprint discovered on the Yorkshire Coast last year. The town’s streets will also become a dinosaur stomping ground as Mesozoic monsters roam the area for the first time in 165 million years!

Yorkshire Fossil Festival director Dr Liam Herringshaw says: “It’s really exciting to be bringing the festival back to Scarborough this September, and it’s going to be bigger and beastlier than ever! We don’t just want to entertain, though – our performers and exhibitors will help visitors discover Yorkshire’s Lost Worlds and the amazing fossils that can be found along the coast and across the county.”