Starting today in Stratford-upon-Avon is the annual birthday extravaganza for the Bard. Shakespeare was born in the English town 446 years ago. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but it’s thought to be April 23rd — the same date on which he passed away 52 years later in 1616.

Four days of festivities are sponsored by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). So what’s taking place? RSC actors performing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in various locations around town and also giving renditions of Shakespeare’s sonnets during ferry boat rides along the River Avon; themed walking tours; the “Sonnet Sleuth,” a literary scavenger hunt; and a whole lot more. The centerpiece of the celebrations is a parade on Saturday through the streets of Stratford, along a three-mile route that begins at the playwright’s birthplace (above) and ends at Holy Trinity Church, the site of his baptism and burial.

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