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Saltaire Festival just keeps on getting better!
Saltaire Festival welcomed record crowds as tens of thousands of people descended on the village for an extravaganza of art, music and food.
A spectacular light show beamed onto Salts Mill and live music from Hank Wangford and the Lost Cowboys last night marked the grand finale of the ten-day festival, which was described as “the best yet.”
Julia Calver, Saltaire Festival director, said: “It has been a fabulous finale weekend which has been really busy. There has been lovely street theatre, some unusual animals and the cookery demonstrations have been absolutely fantastic.
“Considering the crowds have been the largest ever, there has been no trouble, with everyone in good humour, smiling!”
A dhol drummer in full south Asian traditional dress welcomed visitors to the Aagrah Food and Drink Festival – being held for the first time as part of the Saltaire Festival.
Celebrity chef Steph Moon, who has competed on BBC TV programme the Great British Menu, cooked Yorkshire produce with an Indian twist at a masterclass yesterday.
Experts demonstrated Kashmiri, Sri Lankan, vegetarian and Thai Cuisine and there was a guest appearance from Mohammed Aslam MBE, executive chef and owner of Shipley -based Aagrah.
His son, Wasim Aslam, a director of the family company, was also taking part in the demonstrations throughout the weekend.
He said: “We are hosting the food festival this year because Aagrah is well-known in the community and we really wanted to get involved with the Saltaire Festival.”
Street food and delicacies from Europe were on offer at the Continental Market and bargain hunters were at Victoria Hall for the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair.
In Roberts Park, festival-goers soaked up the sun, while Michael Kosmider, and his Brothers Band performed for people enjoying gulash, Polish hot Dogs and continental beer.
Mythical beasts such as a winged horse, a giant Chinese temple lion and a walking hippo were among the art installations for the Wool, Water and the Wheel, section of the festival, put on for the first time this year after organisers secured a grant from Arts Council England.
Built by artists Ali Allen and Marisse Rose, the characters towered above young visitors enjoying the festival fun.
Matthew Myers, five, was stunned to see a massive blue dragon walking towards him, as he took in the atmosphere with grandma Barbara Hall and dad John.
Mrs Hall said: “We had seen the festival was on and took a walk down the canal to sample what was going on. It is brilliant and Matthew has really enjoyed it.”
Mr Myers, of Shipley, said: “What has stood out has been the atmosphere. It has been really busy but it is a feel good family environment.”
The Olympic Lifeguards, a bizarre comedy routine performed by Dog and Doug of street theatre group the Fairly Famous Family, berated passers-by through a loudhailer while sitting on lifeguard-style high seats.
“We are just trying to keep the fun under control,” joked Doug. “There are way too many people having too much fun. We have got our rules on a board.”
On Saturday night Salts Mill’s towering chimney was lit up in a laser light animation display called Cimbley by art group, Adept, a collaboration between artists Steve Manthorp and Shanaz Gulzar.
The Piazza Stage in Caroline Street also proved a major highlight, with The Broken Hearts Club Band, Clayton West and the HotDogs and Salsa Como Loco among the acts playing to the crowds.
Seven brave men bared all in a re-creation of The Full Monty, in a comedy routine organised by Shipley actor Steve Huison, who starred in the hit 1997 film.
Comedian Justin Moorhouse, from Channel 4 sitcom Phoenix Nights, delivered a stand-up routine, 60-year-old Ricky Butler laid on a bed of nails and Madame Zucchini performed her own take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – using vegetables to represent the star-crossed lovers.
The show, at Caroline Street Social Club on Saturday night, was held in aid of Mr Huison’s charity The Hospital to Home Mental Health Project.
Mrs Calver said festival directors were looking to next year’s festival and, in particular, using Roberts Park as a major venue for even more festival attractions.
She said: “This year we have really seen how the park has just been a wonderful canvas for stalls, music, food, theatre and art. What would be lovely is if we can work again with Bradford Council and start to look at how we can create a festival area in the park and really develop that.”