These are the famous Flaming Tar Barrels of Otterly St. Mary.
In brief, the townsfolk put tar in barrels, set the tar on fire, and carry the barrels around the town. Only local are permitted to carry the barrels, but the competition is open to men, women, and children.
They are worried that they’re not able to raise enough money to keep the festival going.
Mark Steele describes the town and its carnival of flaming tar barrels in this BBC Radio 4 Extra show.