[paint the town red] DEFINITION informal 1. go out and enjoy oneself flamboyantly. "You want to have a good time and paint the town red this weekend." English Oxford Dictionaries.com
Whilst the phrase ‘paint the town red’ may not have originated in Melton Mowbray, one particular gentleman has made the saying synonymous with the town thanks to his outrageous behaviour almost 200 years ago!
It is said that in 1837 the Marquis of Waterford and a group of friends ran riot in the Leicestershire town of Melton Mowbray, painting the town's toll-bar and several buildings red. That event is well documented, and is certainly in the style of the Marquis, who was a notorious hooligan. To his friends he was Henry de la Poer Beresford; to the public he was known as 'the Mad Marquis'.
In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography he is described as a 'reprobate and landowner'. His misdeeds include fighting, stealing, being 'invited to leave' Oxford University, breaking windows, upsetting (literally) apple-carts, fighting duels and, last but not least, painting the heels of a parson's horse with aniseed and hunting him with bloodhounds. He was notorious enough to have been suspected by some of being 'Spring Heeled Jack', the strange, semi-mythical figure of English folklore. Whilst we’re not expecting quite so much in the way of high jinks this year, we invite you to enjoy oneself flamboyantly at our very own Paint the Town Red event in the town centre where we will once again be celebrating everything that Melton Mowbray and its surrounding villages have to offer.
Conceived in 2017 to fill the void left by the demise of the long-running Melton Country Show, Paint the Town Red is a free, family friendly, one-day event celebrating Melton Mowbray’s rich heritage of farming, country pursuits and fine foods right in the centre of town!