Grassington Dickensian Festival

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Grassington is a quaint village, complete with cobbled market square, up in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

It is a honey-pot for visitors, especially in the Summer months, when the village is swamped with tourists and day trippers seeking out the beautiful limestone countryside, moorland walks, or simply a picnic by the River Wharfe.

The village lay quiet in the winter months, apart from the hardiest of walkers who fancied a spot of bracing snowy conditions.

Thirty Two years ago, things began to change and from small beginnings, the UK's first and original Christmas Market and Festival has grown into the brilliant Dickensian Market we see today which attracts visitors from throughout the North of England and beyond.

Held over the three Saturdays prior to Christmas, it is now a hive of industry and so popular in recent years that a park and ride system from a local quarry has had to be introduced. (Sat-navvers go to BD23 5PA).

The event itself is free and there is a current charge of £8 for the buses. All profits go to local charities.

There is a full programme of events each Saturday and attractions include various singers, Mummers, bands, street entertainers, a Victorian magic lantern show, hot chestnut sellers, numerous stalls, and an indoor craft market.

Stallholders dress in period costume and it is not uncommon to come across cute 'street urchins' singing individually or in pairs on street corners.

Grassington is not short of cafes, food shops and pubs and all do a roaring trade.

The highlight of the event, as dusk falls, is the 4pm torchlight Nativity Parade.

Torches may be purchased and then lit from the many coal braziers dotted around the square.

Local children play the part of Mary and Joseph, riding on a donkey from the square, touring the local inns looking for shelter and being turned away at each, until they find a stable in the square. There, a brass band lead the community singing of carols as the event then comes to a close. This can be an emotional experience.

This is a brilliant event with lots to offer for all. It does get crowded but I think this adds to the festive atmosphere.

Details of the event can be found at and can be viewed at You Tube on

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