PLANS are already under way for the return of the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival.

It’s back in February – and organisers say there are events in the run up to the main event which the community can get involved with.

The theme for 2013 is ‘time’ and it will include the favourites storytelling, music and lantern parade.

Howard Walker, one of the organisers and trustees, said: “The festival will be hosting lots of storytelling and music events during the half term week as well as lantern-making workshops for people to make their own illuminated masterpiece to carry on the finale procession which will take place through the streets of Slaithwaite on SaturdayFebruary 23.

“Local people are meeting to organise the programme and events and help to raise the money to make the festival the best it can be.”

There will be two fundraising performances on Saturday December 22.

Telling Tales will be performing their Christmas shows at The Watershed, Bridge Street, Slaithwaite, with Hansel and Gretel at 2pm. It features a show with puppets, a shadow play and storytelling which is suitable for children aged over four.

At 4pm the same day, there will be a performance of The Snow Queen suitable for those aged over seven.

Tickets are by donation on the door to the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival.

Susanna Meese, director of Telling Tales, said: “We love the Moonraking Festival – it makes our village special.

“Donating these performances is our way of supporting it taking place.”

The festival attracts more than 5,000 people to the village to see the lantern procession, but growing costs of staging it mean it now runs every other year.

Organisers have to find around £40,000 to fund the ever-popular event.

They’re looking for sponsorship of events and donations of raffle prizes.

Raffle co-ordinator Mr Walker said: “Last time our giant raffle was a great success and raised around £1,100 towards our costs.

“This was a result of the great prizes that were kindly donated by businesses and individuals in Slaithwaite and elsewhere. If you can help make 2013 even better by donating a prize please get in touch.”

To help ring Howard on 01484 844920 or email

The Moonraking Festival started in 1981 to celebrate a local legend.

According to folklore, in 1802 a pair of alcohol smugglers from Slaithwaite were caught trying to fish barrels of booze out of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal using garden rakes.

Asked by passing soldiers on patrol what they were doing, they replied that the moon had fallen in the water and they were raking it out.

The officers departed for home, laughing at the ‘idiots’ from Slawit.