THE residents of Settle have been going potty in the run-up to the annual flowerpot festival as they prepared this year’s flamboyant exhibits.

Thousands of people are expected to visit the town for the free, family orientated festival, which gets underway on Saturday (July 13) and will run through to the beginning of September.

Although the festival itself is generally pretty weather-proof, the poor summer so far has meant that much of the preparation work in making the imaginative exhibits that would normally have been conducted outside in the sunshine, has been carried out indoors with families sharing their kitchen tables with their pots and paints.

It also means the Potting Shed, a dedicated area at The Watershed Mill, Settle, for making exhibits, has been very busy.

Celebrity and patron Mike Harding, who recently released his picture book celebrating the event, got to meet his potty doppelganger at the signing event to launch the souvenir book.

Other home-grown celebrities featured this year include The Calendar Girls in the form of an exhibit displaying considerable bigger buns which has been put together by the ladies of Settle WI.

A tribute to the outstanding late 19th century cricketer England's W G Grace, will be featured at the Cricket Club, after it was discovered that his great, great-grand-daughter has until recently been living at The Wickets, a local retirement home.

Meanwhile the Settle Quakers have celebrated their founder, George Fox, who was born in July 400 years ago and who was said to have climbed nearby Pendle Hill in 1652 where he had the vision that inspired the birth of the Quaker movement.

By complete contrast, among the other exhibits are Popeye and Olive Oyl and Jimminy Cricket and lots lots more, with more than 200 exhibits adorning the town, using upwards of 4,000 flowerpots. Trail sheets are available to help keep visitors entertained for a few hours exploring the town beyond the picturesque market square and usual tourist haunts, to discover many installations hidden away off the beaten track.

Richard Handscombe of Settle Flowerpot Festival CIC which organises the event said: “Now the hard work is done, we all get to enjoy the delight in the visitors who come to see the Festival. It’s wonderful that our community manages to keep coming up with fantastic fresh ideas each year, it’s a real credit to the town and to the Craven economy.”

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