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Carnival atmosphere as curtain raises on Grassington Festival
1:50pm Thursday 23rd June 2011 in Leisure
The curtain was raised on Grassington Festival on Friday – and, despite a gloomy weather forecast, the clouds parted and the sun shone as the opening carnival parade began.
Most of the children in the dale took part, donning bright costumes for the parade, which was led by Honeydrum Collective and the Aireville School Samba band.
Saturday’s outdoor musical events also managed to go ahead as planned with Grassington seeming to have its own micro-climate as the rest of the country got wet!
“It was fabulous to see such a large amount of people coming to the village to spend time listening to music and then wandering round the local shops, pubs and tearooms,” said festival director Amelia Vyvyan. “This is what the festival is all about, bringing people together to enjoy music and arts.”
This year, the festival has commissioned a site-specific piece of theatre centred on the former residential school, Linton Camp.
“This is a one-off chance to discover and celebrate the history of the place, but in a most unusual way,” said Amelia. “The audience are transported to and from the venue by bus hosted by a mad professor and then using ‘special’ technology are equipped to listen, see and experience times past.”
The first three performances took place at the weekend, with a further three due to take place this Saturday.
“The festival organisers would recommend it to as many people as possible as the feedback they have received has been extraordinary,” said Amelia. “And of course it is something that will never happen again.”
The pantomime horse race on Sunday was a different affair altogether. The Main Street and Square were transformed into a racecourse, complete with water jump and bookies. The best turned-out filly award went to Tart-n-racer (Rebecca Reid, horse Penny, owner Karen Darwin and groom Angela Beetham) while the winner of the grand national – the final race of the day – was Green Rum (Jim Mason and Josh Lee). Best turned-out ladies were the Pantomime Dames, Judith Wood and Rita Richardson, and the prize for the best hat went to Sarah Hill, who sported a navy fascinator of her own creation.
“All in all it has been a splendid start to the festival and it has exceeded our expectations,” said Amelia.