A 100-day cultural festival to celebrate the Tour de France in Craven will feature a variety of events for all the family.
Kicking off on March 27 and finishing on the weekend of the Tour Grand Depart on July 6, The Yorkshire Festival – sponsored by the Arts Council and Yorkshire Water – will include Carnival Bentham by Bike, the Tour of Infinite Possibility, and North Yorkshire Open Studios.
And in a spirit of generosity, Craven District Council is to lend its Shakespeare First Folio which is on permanent display at Craven Museum to York.
Printed in 1623, the folio is a compilation of 36 of Shakespeare’s plays and is one of about 230 surviving first folios.
The Bentham carnival event, on May 31, will feature a 3.5km bike ride and the unveiling of the public artwork, The Queen’s Bloomers.
There will also be live music, dance and street theatre in a carnival procession.
Organised by Pioneer Projects, there will be workshops in the run-up to the event in the week before.
“It will be a fantastic celebration on the day and create a great legacy for Bentham,” said Pioneer Projects’ Alison Clough. “We are planning a celebratory bike ride for all the family taking in High and Low Bentham and part of the Way of the Roses cycle way.
“It will be signposted by a fat sheep on a bicycle, based on a design by Marjan Wouda in recognition of the town’s history of sheep sales.”
The cycle route will also take in the sculpture, The Queen’s Bloomers in Low Bentham – also designed by Marjan.
The Tour of Infinite Possibility will be a musical celebration of the Tour featuring Leeds-based Hope and Social in conjunction with Grassington Festival.
The band, which last year performed A Band Anyone Can Join at the Grassington Festival, aims to take its music along the route of the Grand Depart of the tour The band has prepared a new song for the festival and plans to perform at 12 sites along the route on a cycle-powered stage.
Councillor Simon Myers, the council’s lead member for the Tour, said: “These cultural activities will not only draw communities and artists together to celebrate the Grand Depart in Yorkshire, they will also leave a legacy for artists, participants and audiences.”
The annual North Yorkshire Open Studios will take place on June 7, 8, 14 and 15 and will feature many Craven-based professional artists. Information is available on the website, nyos.org.uk.
There will also be a fringe programme of events running alongside the cultural festival including the Autoharp Festival in Gargrave and the Kettlewell Festival of Wool and Ale.
Events can be registered at letour.yorkshire.com/arts festival/submission/fringe-programme There is guidance on events at cravenevents.org.uk or by telephoning the arts development officer on (01756) 706408.