Rushbearing Festival 2011: Ready for a fantastic weekend of traditional fun

Thatching the Rushcart at Sowerby Bridge Canal Basin in preparation for this weekend's annual Rushbearing Festival. Pictured are Tom Stringfellow and Don Hayward
Thatching the Rushcart at Sowerby Bridge Canal Basin in preparation for this weekend's annual Rushbearing Festival. Pictured are Tom Stringfellow and Don Hayward
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THE cart is thatched, the clogs are polished and the rushbearers are raring to go ahead of the 35th annual event.

Festivities get underway from 8pm tonight with the traditional pre-rushbearing get-together at the Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge.

The unforgettable spectacle will then begin in earnest tomorrow when 60 men in folk dress will haul the 16ft rushcart up to Warley and back, flanked by musicians and morris dancers.

The procession departs from Sowerby Bridge canal basin at 9.45am and will stop at pubs and churches along the route.

Tomorrow’s entertainment will be centred around Sowerby Bridge market in Wharf Street, where the annual charity and crafts market will be held along with performances by the Friendly Brass Band.

From Warley the procession will be joined by St Paul’s Youth Band and there will be music and morris dancing along the route at the marketplace, Tower Hill, the train station and Hollins Mill Lane.

After a well-earned rest and plenty of well-deserved ale at The Navigation Inn, Chapel Lane, tomorrow night, the festival resumes on Sunday morning with a service at St Peter’s Church, Sowerby, at 10.30am.

The parade will then make its way to Ripponden, passing through Cottonstones, Mill Bank and Triangle along the way.

Entertainment includes performances by the Eclipse Jazz Band at The Rushcart Inn, Sowerby, at 11.30am, and Triangle Cricket Club at 3.45pm, and performances by folk dancers The 400 Roses at The Alma Inn, Cottonstones, at 1pm and at St Bartholomew’s Church Ripponden, at 4pm.

The celebrations finish at the church, where the annual village fair will be in full swing, followed by a Songs of Praise service at 5.30pm.

Festival chairman John Coupe said: “There is a huge commitment by a lot of people to keep this custom going and bring people into this area.

“Folk come from all over the place to see it - it’s a great event for Sowerby Bridge and for Calderdale. We just want as many people as possible to get out and see it and support it.”

Click on the external link on the right to view a map and timetable for this year’s festival

l For more details of everything going on at the festival, pick up a free programme, available from all Sowerby Bridge shops, pubs and churches along the procession route.