A variety of storytelling, gravity-defying stone-balancing and curious bird masks will draw the crowds to Settle Stories this weekend.

The third annual Settle Storytelling Festival runs from Thursday to Sunday and promises to be the most thrilling yet, with visitors already booked in from Essex in the south and Scotland in the north.

Some of the world’s most acclaimed storytellers, such as Kenyan born, Mara Menzies, and Jan Blake, who was born in Manchester of Jamaican parents, will be taking part.

Irish storyteller Liz Weir, who has appeared at festivals in the United States and in Australia, will hold a practical workshop for those wanting to develop their own storytelling skills.

While other highlights include Yorkshire stories and poems inspired by Bill Mitchell and the real story behind Isaac Newton’s famous apple tree eureka moment by Professor Richard Keesing.

This year, the festival will focus on the work of master storytellers, The Brothers Grimm - authors of Snow White, Cinderella and many more.

Event director Sita Brand said it was not just about bringing the world to Settle, but showing the world what Craven had to offer.

"We've already sold twice as many tickets this year as we did at the same time last year,” she said.

Many of the storytellers have been staging workshops in schools in the area in the run-up to the festival.

“I’m proud to live in Settle and proud that the Settle Storytelling Festival is now one of the largest in the country,” said Sita.

“This year’s programme features an eclectic mix of performances from home and abroad - there will be something for everyone and I’m delighted to welcome some of the worlds best storytellers to Settle to perform their tales.

“I’m looking forward to an exciting, scary, gripping and fun four days.”

The events will take place at various venues, including the Talbot Arms, The Folly Museum and Settle Library.

There will also be an exhibition of sculpture by Marjan Wouda and David Hockney illustrations at the Linton Court Gallery.

Richard Whinray, grandson of caver and archaeologist, Tot Lord, will lead a history tour of Settle setting off from the tourist information office.

A more unusual event will be Responsible Fishing with gravity defying sculptures and the stories that surround them. The free event will take place in the garden of the Friends Meeting House.

For more information about the event, go to settlestories.org.uk or call the Settle Victoria Hall Box Office on 01729 825 718.