THE market town of Grassington has been resounding to the sounds of Christmas from yesteryear as the first of the Grassington Dickensian Festival weekends took place last Saturday and Sunday.

The festival has been going in the town for more than 30 years and two years ago changed its format from being held on three consecutive Saturdays in December to four days over two weekends.

Stall holders and shop owners help by getting into costume and each year the town is packed by visitors journeying by car and coach.

“As ever, we have our community at heart,” said Angela Jackson, the event’s organiser for the past 10 years.

“This year we have focused more on local bands and choirs than ever before.

“Over last weekend the crowds were entertained by Skipton Brass Band, Ermysted’s Band, Threshfield School choir, Upper Wharfedale School’s Performing Arts group and the Bradford BD1 band together with plenty of street theatre, slapstick comedy, Punch & Judy and street dancing.

“The winners of the Dickensian calendar competition from the local schools were treated to a sleigh ride with Santa, pulled along by the small herd of reindeer which was gracing the streets and square for all to feed and pose with.

“This coming weekend promises more of the same with the reindeer, Red Hot Santas performing in their inimitable Victorian style, the Knaresborough Silver Band, Grassington Singers performing a selection of their festive songs, local group The Tenmours, even more slapstick street entertainment, barrel organ, chestnut sellers, braziers, shoe shine boys and all manner of Victorian merriment around the village. And of course, not forgetting Santa.

“We shall also have our usual array of interesting outdoor market stalls around the whole of the village, supplementing our many shops, pubs and cafes.

“Many of the stalls benefit local organisations with everyone entering into the spirit by dressing in Victorian costumes.”

The highlight of each of the days, as in previous years, is the torchlight procession, with Mary and Joseph being led around the village with their donkey, followed by the community carol singing in the Square.

The Devonshire Institute will be hosting their own indoor Christmas craft market again with plenty of gift ideas and a chance to get warm with refreshments.

Grassington will be welcoming all visitors again this coming Saturday and Sunday.

The event runs from 11am to 5pm each day with a well-signposted ‘Park and Ride’ scheme in place.

For a full schedule of entertainment please visit