ORGANISERS of Skipton Puppet Festival are gearing up for another of one of the town's most popular events.

Due to take place during the first weekend in October, the 8th bi-annual international festival, first held in 2005, will include performers from all over Europe and attract thousands of puppet enthusiasts into the town.

Described by some as 'the best thing that happens in Skipton' and the 'highlight of the local event calendar', this year's programme promises to celebrate the best of puppetry from the marvellous and the mystical to the ordinary and the overlooked.

There will be chivalrous knights and fire breathing dragons, while a simple bag of rubbish will reveal its dreams

and a lump of raw dough will show its rebellious side.

The festival draws in performers from across Europe, but it’s an event very firmly rooted in Skipton –with the support of the community at the core of its success.

Skipton BID has given a substantial grant to strengthen the festival's offer in recognition of the benefit of an estimated 15,000 visitors to the town.

And, the fundraising has been bolstered by support from local charities: Skipton Mechanics Institute has given generous support for the community participation activities, Skipton Craven Rotary Club is supporting a workshop weekend for 14 - 18 year olds, and thanks to the Craven Trust, the festival is once again offering puppet-making bursaries to schools and community groups, to create puppets to join in in the popular Puppet Parade on Sunday, October 6.

And, there is still a chance to claim a bursary of up to £100 - more details are available on the festival website.

For individuals and families who fancy getting stuck in, there will be free parade puppet making workshops over the last two weekends in September, run in partnership with Handmade Parade, and more drop-in puppet making opportunities at the festival itself.

More than 60 per cent of the shows at the festival are free admission, and there will be lots to enjoy, from performances from world-class established puppeteers through to student and experimental work.

The team delivering the festival rely on the enthusiastic support received from the people of Skipton and the surrounding area, and are looking forward to a strong turnout again this October. The programme is available on the Skipton Puppet Festival website, and the box office is now live. As most ticketed performances tend to sell out before the festival, the organisers advise to book early.

Anyone keen to get involved with the festival should contact the festival via its Facebook page or through the festival website – there are loads of opportunities to get involved.

To find out more, including bursaries, getting involved and booking tickets, visit the website: