Ulverston loves a festival. Fact. It is even known as a festival town due to the number of festivals it has annualy. This weekend was the turn of the Charter fesitval (celebrating the Charter that was awarded to the town in 1280 by Edward I) and the Lantern festival, a chance for the residents of Ulverston to show their arty side. After a quick trip to do a few errands, the 4 of us headed to the town centre to the medieval market.
It wasn’t a big market by any account, it was varied though. There were a couple of food stalls but there was also silversmithing, something you don’t see every day. The kids headed over to the stall from Ford Park where there were several activites, but the one they wanted to do, was decorate a turnip! Using wool for hair and and felt, they made turnip people. Charlotte was wearing her coat that we had bought her an hour earlier and managed to get the sleeve covered in PVA glue (kids eh?). When they had finished, turnip people in hand, we headed over to the entertainment tent where the Medieval Maniax were just starting up. If you see that these guys are going to be at an event near you, I highly recommend that you go. I haven’t laughed that much for ages! Their performance (dotted with the odd bit of innuendo) had the crowd in stitches. Tom even managed to win himself a bag of sweets by getting up on “stage” and helping. Charlotte wasn’t pleased at this apparent favouritism but she soon forgot about it when the performers shot Sootie (she laughed, it was fine).
After the performance we headed out for a meal and down to the canal. We had gone to get a pub tea but the pub was in between servings so we nipped across the road to have a look at the canal. There was an amazing view over Morecambe Bay, and down the canal the kids enjoyed watching the ducks and swans but the star of the show were the baby swallows sitting on the lock.
Later that evening we headed to Ford Park for the lantern festival. We had talked about walking the procession, but it had been a long day and still had a few hours left to go, so despite managing to eek out a nap for the kids (something Tom hasn’t done for about 3 years and Charlotte, 1), we decided it might be a bit too much for them to walk the distance as well. We weren’t sure what to expect of the lantern festival but both me and Bob had been told that it wasn’t to be missed. It was already dark by the time we got there with Hoad monument all lit up. Tom was busying himself looking for bats, a recent obsession of his so we based ourselves by the stage and waited for the lanterns to come in while he searched the skies.
One by one the lanterns entered the park. There were hundreds of them, in every shape and size!
There were ones based on movies, kids tv, objects, transportation including an amazing Thomas the Tank Engine created by the 2nd Ulverston Scouts. The kids were facinated and were trying to take it all in. Then there was a performance by some people who had got together to learn fire dancing and to put on a performance piece before the festival finished off with some fireworks.
People were right, it wasn’t to be missed and I would recommend it as a day (or should that be night?) out for anyone with little children.
All of the activities were free, the only cost was parking in the town centre during the day. There were donation buckets at the exit for the lantern festival and we happily gave as it is the donations that fund the project every year.
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