THIS weekend Ulverston's Dickensian Festival will come of age as the 21st colourful spectacle of all things Victorian takes to the streets.

What started as a relatively modest event in 1999 now attracts coach tours from all over the country - some making the two-day festival the highlight of a holiday in the Lake District.

To mark this year's festival, held on Saturday and Sunday, we are taking a look at pictures from The Mail archive of the events held in 1999 and 2000.

The Mail, on Monday, November 29, in 1999, noted: "A trip back in time for Ulverston's first Dickensian Fair was enjoyed by thousands of people at the weekend.

"On Saturday the town centre was jammed as the town was transformed in Charles Dickens style, with rows of stalls decorated with 19th century fashions and ware.

"Even the weather obliged with the frost adding to the atmosphere provided by the array of old-fashioned costumes worn by the townsfolk and the shopkeepers.

"The town centre cross was the place to be for the switching on of the Christmas lights, various attractions and fancy dress competitions hosted by Ulverston's mayor, Ron Creer, who was Charles Dickens for the day.

"The town's transformation was a truly magnificent sight to behold and one that is hope will become a regular fixture."

It was clear that the town had hit on a winning formula.

Town centre officer Jayne Harris said: "Myself and the rest of the committee think it's been an overwhelming success for our first year.

"There were thousands in the town centre on Saturday.

"Many people said they haven't seen Ulverston so busy for years."

The 1999 event drew visitors from Manchester, Stoke, Blackpool and Lytham St Annes and saw more than 200 people hire or bring their own Victorian-style outfits to wear.

Ulverston mayor Ron Creer got into the spirit of the event by dressing as the famous Victorian author Charles Dickens to mingle with the crowds.

And a total of more than 200 people turned up to take part in a pair of ghost walks organised by Ulverston Heritage Centre.

The lighting of the Tank Square Christmas tree was organised by St Mary's Hospice with a Light Up A Life theme.