Townsfolk get into character for Ulverston festival
Last updated at 16:02, Tuesday, 26 November 2013
MULLED wine flowed, Victorian characters came to life, and Ulverston’s trademark cobbles were pounded by a constant stream of people.
It could only have been the 15th annual Dickensian Christmas Festival, which once again filled the town centre to capacity and ushered in the countdown to Christmas.
Free entertainment was on offer across three stages, but pop-up choirs, mechanical organs, street entertainers and strolling musicians ensured something was going on almost everywhere people cared to look.
The annual costume parade, led by Ulverston Town Band and Queen Victoria, featured tens of characters dressed in full 1850s-style regalia.
But in a slight change to the fashion of the day, they were met by two unwitting volunteers dressed in over-sized yellow underpants when the procession finished at the Theatre Street Stage.
The two good sports had been ‘victims’ of entertainer Garry Gifford, who had children and adults alike in stitches with his Christmas Capers.
Jan Hancock, part of the festival organising committee, said 11 visiting coaches had been booked, but 21 turned up. “Obviously, as everyone can see, the town is packed,” said Mrs Hancock.
“The Theatre Street car park seems to have worked well this year. Last time it was a little bit slow, but today it’s been absolutely buzzing.
“At the start of the day I thought it seemed a bit quiet, but all of a sudden it filled and it’s been packed since then. It’s been really busy and everybody has had smiling faces.
“Once again, the costume parade was stunning. When you see how many entrants and the quality of the costumes – and a lot of people make their own – it reminds you how much effort people go to. Year after year we get more people and more costumes and the whole town comes alive.
“Out of all the festivals, it is our big event of the year and takes a heck of a lot of organising. We have our wash-up meeting in December, have a rest until January, then it’s our AGM in February and the planning goes on all year.”
Peter Winston, another member of the organising team, said: “Some people are saying it’s a record turnout for Saturday.”
A multitude of stalls selling everything from crafts to roasted chestnuts gave people plenty to explore.
Nicola Culley, of Ulverston, had her Nicola’s Crochet stand set up in the row of stalls along King Street, which was filled with the shuffling feet of browsers all day. It was her third time trading her crochet fashion accessories at the festival.
She said: “It’s been busy, almost too busy – we could do with the stall set back a bit more from the pavement to have more room! It’s a good place to sell; everybody is really friendly and helps each other.”
Aside from the legions of locals, the event attracted visitors from across the country. Jean Winderman came from Derbyshire with her two young children.
She said: “I saw it on Countryfile a few years ago and we’ve been meaning to come ever since. We finally got round to it this year and we’ve loved every minute.
“The kids have had a great time on the rides and liked the Santa’s grotto, and I’ve just liked wandering around all these lovely stalls with my glass of mulled wine.”
First published at 16:37, Monday, 25 November 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Enjoyed. I could not find a better event even if I had travelled to Europe.
My dad's family were from Ulverston and we decided to pay a nostalgic visit on Saturday partly to see my Gt Uncle Frank Porter's name on the war memorial (died 1/7/16 The Somme) and leave a poppy. Imagine our surprise to discover the festival in full swing! What a brilliant event - everyone very happy and the town was buzzing. We'll be back - maybe to stay over next time, a fantastic idea and a credit to the organisers and the people of Ulverston.