Festival Director, Fiona Goh, got a bit of a shock when she found herself taking tea with a life-sized tiger – in the heart of Holmfirth.
The tiger has arrived in time for this year’s Holmfirth Arts Festival which runs from June 17 to the 26.
And Fenella, who made her home in Holmfirth during the 1940s, is set to be a star.
The festival has a distinctly circus theme including a celebration of the life of Holmfirth’s famous friendly tiger, Fenella, who was brought to town by the Overend family who performed in circuses.
Festival events include an exclusive interview with one of the family members who owned Fenella, Rosamund Hiles, an exhibition of photographs of the tiger, and an evening of songs and stories about Fenella – some true, some made up – with comedian and broadcaster Ian McMillan.
Festival Director Fiona, who came face to face with a cutout of Fenalla at The Old Bridge Hotel, said: “Fenella the Tiger is a local legend, and we very much wanted to incorporate her story into this year’s festival.”
Visitors will get the chance to view previously unseen photographs of Fenella, provided by her family, and enjoy a performance by well-known writer and broadcaster, Ian McMillan.
Ian will be joining forces with musician Luke Carver Goss to perform a song cycle about the tiger who lived near the local primary school.
The festival kicks off with a vibrant Creature Carnival through the streets of Holmfirth at 3pm on Saturday. Members of the local community have been busy creating a series of stunning animal and bird costumes with the help of Hand Made Parade from Hebden Bridge and artists Chloe Williams and Liz Walker.
And a collaboration with Yorkshire Festival means here will be a free programme of intriguing outdoor performances including Stefano di Renzo’s wordless balancing act, ‘Hold On’, complete with whirling buckets, catapulting planks and flying cups.
Upswing’s high energy aerial skills act, ‘Show and Have A Go’ also offers young people the opportunity to try their hand at aerial circus whilst Company Chameleon’s high energy, physical performance is a powerful look at male dynamics and behaviour.
To find out more pick up a Festival brochure, visit the website at www.holmfirthartsfestival.co.uk.