SUMMER fairs and festivals would not be complete without rides, stalls – and children sporting painted faces.

Now Fenay Bridge woman Jude Harding’s face-painting skills are in such demand, she has had to recruit more helpers to keep up with the brushwork.

Jude’s company, Artifaces, has landed its biggest contract to date.

She will provide 10 face-painters for the annual Red Bull Flugtag event at Roundhay Park, Leeds.

About 24,000 tickets have been sold for tomorrow’s event, in which wacky “aviators” with homemade planes run off a 30ft platform over a lake, and try to take to the skies rather than plunge into the water.

Teams from Huddersfield and Mirfield are among those taking part.

In keeping with the occasion, Jude and her team will be on hand to turn youngsters into the Red Baron – or any other colour they want!

Jude worked in the carpet industry for 10 years after gaining a degree in art and design before a teacher friend told her how popular a face-painting session at school had proved – and fired Jude’s enthusiasm.

“I started providing face-painting at agricultural shows, exhibitions and store openings,” said Jude.

“I started 18 years ago and for quite a few years I was working by myself. I have provided face-painting at Kirklees markets and for Wakefield City Council.

“But so many requests were coming in that I had to turn some of them down. I was advertising to get more business and here I was having to say I couldn’t do it.

“So in the past few years I have taken on more people to provide face-painting.”

Said Jude: “We are the cream of face-painters. A lot of people think there is nothing to it and do it as a sideline, but they don’t always use the right paints and there are other things to consider, such as insurance.”

Face-painting isn’t restricted to youngsters wanting to look like tigers or Spiderman at children’s parties and village fetes..

“I was asked to carry out some arm and face-painting for an Asian wedding,” said Jude.

“There were also a group of girls who wanted zebra markings on their faces for a night out celebrating an 19th birthday. Some pregnant women also want their ‘bumps’ painting. It’s a surprisingly soothing experience for ladies in that condition.”