Grassington gets into the festive spirit at village’s annual Dickensian festival

Grassington’s Victorian heritage has helped to draw a record crowd to one of the most celebrated festive events in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Grassington Dickensian Festival featured jugglers and buskers, chestnut sellers and a silver band, as well as Punch and Judy shows, Victorian-style musicians, dance performances and plays. One of the highlights was the arrival of Father Christmas.

Organisers said it had been a joyous occasion for all involved.

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“It’s been absolutely brilliant,” said festival coordinator Angela Jackson as the festivities, which took place over the first two weekends of December, wound down yesterday afternoon.

The Extraordinary Victorians entertaining the visitors to Grassington Dickensian Festival.

“It’s really amazing how everybody comes together and pulls out all of the stops to make it happen. The village just lends itself to such an event, you can’t get away from its Victorian heritage and that’s what makes it so unique.

“It’s a real community event, and it’s so incredible to see.”

There were a record number of visitor numbers on the first Saturday of the festival.

Counting cars, Mrs Jackson said there were over 1,000 on the first two days and 800 more over this weekend, with the addition of 165 coach-loads of visitors overall. “That’s such a lot of people,” said Mrs Jackson.

The village is transported back to the time of Dickens, with shopkeepers, villagers and visitors dressed in Victorian costume. “The stall-holders are all dressed up, the shopkeepers, cafe owners and a good number of guests. It’s just a great start to the season’s festivities,” Mrs Jackson added.

The annual festival has run for nearly 40 years. For many in the area, it is one of the biggest events on the festive calendar, with people from numerous local schools, charities and community groups attending.