HOARDS of visitors basked in glorious sunshine as Marsden Cuckoo Festival lived up to the legend.
The annual event is inspired by the tale that village folk – convinced the cuckoo’s arrival brought out the sun – tried to trap the bird to prolong the good weather.
As the myth goes, the wall they built was slightly too low.
But festival-goers on Saturday might have been forgiven for searching for a captive cuckoo or two.
Hundreds turned out as the village enjoyed the hottest day of the year so far.
Organiser Marie Kerr said: “It was incredibly busy. The numbers were greater than I have ever seen.”
The event, formerly called Cuckoo Day, started on Friday with a guided walk telling the story of the cuckoo legend.
Saturday’s programme included a craft fair, stalls, fairground rides, a duck race organised by the National Trust and a display of vintage engines and classic motorcycles.
Various dance groups, theatre groups and bands performed throughout the day.
Among the highlights was the traditional procession led by Marsden Silver Prize Band from Peel Street to Manchester Road, ending up at Wessen Court.
In a tradition revived from festivals past, children from Marsden Junior School and Marsden Infant and Nursery School designed wheelbarrow floats.
Helped by the National Trust, their displays were based on the theme of endangered British wildlife. The cuckoo is now classed as an endangered species.
Helen Hoare, junior school deputy headteacher, was at the festival with son George, four. She said: “The children worked really hard and learned a lot.
“I think the festival really brings the community together.”
Judith Lacy, whose seven-year-old daughter Esme was part of a school class that designed a float based on great crested newts, said: “It’s not as commercial as some other festivals. It’s got a real community feel.”
Anita Carr, from Holmfirth, and Jill Newton, from Wakefield, were part of the Rhubarb Tarts molly dancing troupe.
Jill said: “There’s a really nice atmosphere and it’s brilliant for families.”
Anita added: “We’ve been really well received. It’s a great excuse for people in Marsden to have a bit of a party.”
Friends of Marsden Park had a stall to raise awareness of efforts to regenerate the park. Member Christine Martindale said: “The weather has brought everybody out.”
The organisers thanked web designer Colin Steele, who put together the official website, www.cuckoofestival.co.uk, free of charge.