WITH more than 70 shows, numerous walkabout acts, workshops, exhibitions, puppet encounters and puppet experiences, Skipton Puppet Festival was once again a roaring success.

A new attendance record was set with an estimated 15,000 people turning out to join in the fun over the weekend.

There were lots of smiling faces and the weather held, and even though many shows sold out before the festival opened, there were many free events where young and old could enjoy great puppetry.

Crowds lined the streets on Sunday for the spectacular puppet parade, which saw more than 100 puppets dance their way through Skipton, accompanied by music from DalesJam, Jamba Samba, Loud Minority, and Juba do Leao’s dancing lion.

The parade, organised by Handmade Parade of Hebden Bridge, had community groups including SELFA, Skipton Young Carers, Skipton Library, Rainbows and the Greatwood and Horse Close Community, taking part alongside professional puppets and their handlers.

Highlights included a fish on two bicycles, a swarm of dragonflies, and the unforgettable sight of a giant gryphon swooping down the High Street.

The festival offered traditional favourites like Punch and Judy and Stanelli’s Super Circus, whose miniature performers drew big crowds, alongside continental interpretations such as the Portuguese Punch Don Roberto, the world's smallest stuntman Dangerous Dave, a wooden fire-breathing dragon, a life-size giraffe and her baby and Skipton's own Giant Swaledales.

Organisers have received many positive comments, including a "marvellous fun weekend", "best year yet", and "the puppet festival is part of what makes Skipton, Skipton".

And one child said: "It is amazing! I want to come every time! My experience of Skipton Puppet Festival has been epic!"

The event - which is held every two years - was supported by Arts Council England, Skipton Town Partnership, Craven District Council, Skipton Town Council, Skipton Mechanics Institute, Skipton Rotary, The Craven Trust and the Goethe Institute with various local sponsorships including Rendezvous Hotel, SELFA, AllSignage and Keelhams Farm Shop.

See next week's Craven Herald for more pictures from the event.