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Imbolc 2016: Watch sparks fly as thousands flock to Marsden for this year's fire festival

Around 3,000 people welcomed back the event despite the miserable weather

A flaming good festival roared back into action at the weekend.

And the miserable weather failed to dampen spirits as 3,000 people packed into Marsden for its Imbolc Fire Festival on Saturday.

The event made a welcome return after a two-year break with people coming from as far afield as Canada to take part.

Organiser Angie Boycott-Garner said she was delighted with the festival’s reception.

She said: “It went really well.

“We had a difficult day because it was raining from morning until just before the start and it meant that people setting everything up were rather cold and wet.

“But everything was done in good spirits and we had over 3,000 people on the night.

“It was a very full one which surprised me - because of the inclement weather I thought it would be a much smaller crowd.”

The community celebration is based around the Celtic festival of Imbolc, marking the time when the earth begins to wake up after its winter sleep.

The festivities kicked off near Marsden Railway Station with a procession led by “fiery druids”, mixed bands, stilt walkers and people carrying lanterns made at workshops in the run-up to the event.

This terminated at the Tunnel End of Standedge Visitor Centre with the ever popular battle between Jack Frost and the Green Man for spring.

The sun was welcomed in with a spectacular firework finale.

READ MORE: What's the history behind the Imbolc fire festival?

This year participants made a real effort with their costumes, donning masks and superb Green Man style costumes.

Angie said that the community was as keen as ever to get involved after the festival’s two year absence.

Imbolc fire festival, Marsden. Picture Simon Morley

In the weeks leading up to the event, locals got involved with workshops held in schools and around the village.

Angie added: “There’s nothing quite like it and people do come back again and again.

“Perhaps its the history and the folklore and it’s quite a surreal thing to have.

“The furthest I know of that someone came from this year is Canada.

“We also had people coming from York, Sheffield, Barnsley, up from Hastings and London.

Imbolc fire festival, Marsden. Picture Simon Morley

“It’s a real mix of people and that’s lovely.

“There’s also the community feel because people get involved in the lantern making and the workshops so even if they
can’t come down they can still be a part of it.

“For me the highlight is seeing all the dancing at the end, standing on the hill watching all the people below lit up by the fire.”

Organisers will take a short break before planning begins for the next festival in 2018

Imbolc fire festival, Marsden. Picture Simon Morley

Angie said: “It’s so much work and we’re all volunteers.

“People love to get involved and when they do it becomes part of their life.

“Once the clean up is over and we’ve had a short rest we’ll start thinking about fundraising for the next festival in two years’ time.”



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