ULVERSTON'S annual Dickensian Festival takes place on Saturday November 26 and Sunday 27, and is set to be a memorable day out for the whole family.

By Hollie Rees

The festive weekend has taken place in Ulverston town centre for the last 16 years and attracts thousands of locals and visitors each year.

The good news is that it's not too packed to wander around the cobbled streets while soaking up the atmosphere of a traditional market town in the Dickensian era.

As well as Christmas shopping, there is a range of free events taking place across both days, including costume competitions, balloon modelling, horse drawn carriages and a grand parade around the town.

Town mayor Mark Wilson will be officially opening the festival at 10am on the Saturday. He will also switch the town's Christmas lights on at 4pm later that day.

A traditional fairground, a variety of music performances and carol singing all help to complete the weekend.

The community event is organised by volunteers and funded by donations, with proceeds from this year's event going towards funds for the 2017 weekend.

Grab the family, put together your best costumes and go along to get into the festive spirit.

Weekend entertainment

A variety of entertainment is set to take place across the weekend and will be situated on various stages - Market Place, Lloyds Corner and Theatre Street Car Park.

The line-up holds performers such as Ulverston Town Band, Astral Circus, Harry Magic, Furness Morris Dancers, Saint Mary's School Choir, The Mooncats and Live Steam Folk Band.

The Busker Zone, located on Brogden Street, will also host live music all weekend. Musicians performing will include Ragazza, a local saxophone quartet and Daisy & Belle, a folk and pop sister duo.

Christmas carols will be performed at 3.30pm on the Sunday at the Market Place stage.

Other events

Other events taking place over the weekend include coffee mornings, a birds of prey display, a local artists' exhibition in the Coronation Hall plus a showing of Great Expectations at Roxy Cinema.

Saturday evening will also include a celebration of Lancashire Day at The Old Friends, Soutergate. The event begins at 8pm with music from Live Steam plus real ale and Lancashire hot pot.

Fun for children

There will be a dedicated children's zone open until 4pm on both days of the weekend and located on Brogden Street.

Children can have a donkey ride, meet Santa's reindeer, have a photo taken in Santa's sleigh before visiting Santa's Grotto, which will be located in the Laurel and Hardy Museum.

As well as the festive fun, there will be Tales with Dickens taking place at Natterjacks, Queen Street, between 11am and 12pm on both days. Entry is £3 for adults and children are free.

A traditional fairground will also be at The Gill and the bottom of Market Street.

Costume competition and parade

The period costume parade will start from County Square at 3pm on the Saturday and 2pm on the Sunday.

The parade will be led by Queen Victoria and Ulverston Town Band who will be joined by the town's Mayor.

Everybody in costume is invited to take part in the thirty minute walk which will finish at Theatre Street, where costume judging will commence.

Winners will receive certificates and prizes on both days for different categories including girls up to 13-years-old, boys up to 13-years-old, lady's outfit, gentleman's outfit and family group of three or more.

An award for Best Whiskers will be up for grabs on Saturday, with a Most Imaginative Bonnet award available on Sunday.

Costume hire is available for the event from several sources and can be pre-ordered.

A catalogue is available at Pure, in Market Street, and costumes can be collected and hired from the Parish Centre, Church Walk on Thursday November 24, between 4.30pm to 7pm.

Food and drink

There will be a number of food and drink stalls open over the weekend from 10am. The food court will be located in Theatre Street Car Park, where there will also be undercover seating available.

Whether you fancy Mexican or Indian, burgers or pastries, pizza or soup - there really will be something for everyone.

Earthworm Kitchen will be providing vegetarian and vegan food and Evie's Crepes and Waffles will be serving sweet treats.

Dickensian Festival Mulled Wine Stalls will be found at the Market Place, Lloyd's Corner, outside the Coronation Hall and at the Virginia House stand located in the food court.


Parking will be available for the event at the Auction Mart with a park and ride service into the town centre. The postcode is LA12 9AU.

A charity donation for each car is encouraged.

For more information, visit www.dickensianfestival.co.uk