A BRIGHT and sunny day ensured Skipton’s annual Sheep Day festival drew the crowds on Sunday.

Almost 18,000 people visited the town and enjoyed the warm weather and warm atmosphere on a traffic-free high street for the town’s heritage event.

Organised by the Events Team at Skipton Town Council with financial support from the Skipton Business Improvement District, the event brought together a whole range of attractions, demonstrations and shows under the banner of ‘The Countryside Comes to Town’

The centrepiece was, once again, the highly popular ‘Sheep Show’ – an informative but amusing look at different breeds of sheep with shearing demonstrations and even dancing sheep.

Elsewhere other demonstrations included weaving, wood carving, drystone walling, embroidery and rope-making.

And there were not only sheep making an appearance.

Visitors were able to get up close to llamas and alpacas, goats, rabbits, birds of prey, donkeys and a paddling of ducks.

For the first time this year, visitors enjoyed live music on the Drystone Radio Stage with purposely placed and appropriate straw bales for people to rest and enjoy the sounds.

Dancing in the street was an optional and free extra while there was always plenty for the youngsters to feast their eyes on and and take part in.

For all ages there was a variety of demonstrations including drystone walling, spinning, weaving, rope making and an arts and craft market.

There were also stalls selling a range of food, refreshments and goodies on offer.

Kibble Bakery and Woof and Walk Skipton hosted a doggy aerobics session and charity dog walk while Cabasa Carnival Arts presented their Butterfly Wings and mask making workshops, Incredible Edible will be there with their interactive blender bikes and planting workshops.

Events and tourism manager for Skipton Town Council, Kerry Wheelwright, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the event – and it was brilliant to see so many people relaxing and enjoying our High Street.

“Sheep Day brings local families into the town centre for an enjoyable free day out and it attracts welcome visitors from further afield.”

She added: “We were particularly pleased at the popularity of our live music stage, something we introduced for the first time this year – but the atmosphere across the whole day was great.

“Next year, Sheep Day will celebrate its 25th anniversary so we’ll be looking to make it even better.

“A massive thank you to everyone who took part – and, of course, the 18,000 or so people who came to see us.”

Voted as one of the county’s top ten best quirkiest events, the family day celebrates the origins of ‘Sheep Town’ by bringing the countryside into the heart of the town.

ALONGSIDE Sheep Day, an additional attraction to mark the end of Armed Forces Week was provided by the 5th Regiment of the Royal Artillery, based at Catterick Garrison, and recently awarded the Freedom of the Craven District.

A display of military vehicles outside the Town Hall attracted attention throughout the day – as did the formal ‘flag lowering ceremony’ at the end of the event.

The flag was folded and presented by Lt Col Sam Shepherd to the Royal British Legion bugler David Ellis.

Mr Ellis, 84, who lives in Skipton, joined the Life Boys at the age of 10 where he started to play the bugle. He later joined the Boys Brigade where he won the Silver Bugle three years in succession.

For over 40 years, Mr Ellis has been an active member of the Royal British Legion at Skipton, Cross Hills, Ilkley and Addingham.

Throughout this time he became the band master to four different Boys’ Brigade Bands and a Girls’ Brigade Band. He was appointed Divisional Band Master and was part of the National Band committee.

He also won an award for services to the Royal British Legion.