COLOURFUL lanterns lit up the streets of Slaithwaite at the weekend to mark the finale of the village’s famous Moonraking Festival.
An estimated 2,000 people turned out for the parade on Saturday night, which saw hundreds of home-made lanterns lighting up the sky.
The theme for this year was nursery rhymes and colourful characters making an appearance included Little Bo Peep, Incy Wincy Spider and the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.
And the cow really did jump over the Moon at the spectacular finale of what proved to be an unforgettable evening for villagers.
After taking a break last year the festival’s organisers decided to do things a little differently for this year’s big comeback and were pleased that people were as supportive as ever.
Stuart Render, chairman of the organising group, said: “It was lovely to see so many people coming back after last year’s break.
“The Moon was out, there was an absolutely wonderful atmosphere and I would like to thank everybody who turned out in force to support us.”
The evening kicked off with street performers entertaining the crowds. The whole of Carr Lane was closed off so that spectators had more space to enjoy the spectacle.
The lantern procession was also changed, with the legendary raking of the moon coming first instead of serving as a finale.
After the moon lantern was raked out of the canal at Carr Lane its animated face led the procession to Crimble viaduct and up and along Hill Top, where a breathtaking sight was created as people’s windows shone with lantern light.
The lantern procession, full with colourful lights, characters in costume and musicians – including bagpipes – then journeyed down Bank Gate and back to the canal.
There, a particularly spectacular finale saw a huge crane lifting a ‘cow’ over the Moon to a stunning backdrop of fireworks.
The evening ended with celebrations in venues throughout the village.
Gill Bond, of Satellite Arts and one of the founders of the festival, said: “It was a lovely evening, with the perfect weather and we had 230 lanterns, all beautifully crafted.
“The whole festival is about people taking part and enjoying the experience and its a real community effort. People invest a lot of time in it and I’m proud that it has been embraced in such a way by the whole community.’’
The parade was the culmination of the festival’s week-long programme of events, entitled A Week of Lanterns and Legends.
Organisers are already planning next year’s event and are looking for local businesses to get involved by sponsoring it.
For more information contact Gill on 01484 654525.