Valley set to light up with Christmas spirit

Map of the parade route for the Valley of Lights festival celebration night in Todmorden on November 24, 2012
Map of the parade route for the Valley of Lights festival celebration night in Todmorden on November 24, 2012
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The fuse will be lit on the Valley of Lights festival this weekend as the whole community comes together to celebrate the spirit, creativity, people and businesses of the upper Calder Valley.

The fun begins in Todmorden on Saturday evening with the first of three celebration nights.

Following the Christmas lights switch-on at the Peace Garden by Todmorden Town Hall, a lantern parade will leave Bramsche Square at 5pm. It will head along Halifax Road, Water Street, Rise Line and Station Approach before finishing back in Bramsche Square where a spectacular fire finale will take place.

There will also be canalside night markets selling local produce, crafts, gifts and food in the market square and Fielden Wharf, as well as a canal boat light flotilla at the wharf from 4pm.

There is a Christmas market in Brighouse followed by the lights switch on

Building on the success of the award-winning Totally Locally markets, 60 stallholders will be in Commercial Street, Market Street and Park Street, to help get people in the festive mood on Saturday.

To give people plenty of time to take in the festive light switch on the market will run for longer this year, from 9am until 5pm and will provide a brilliant opportunity to stock up on locally produced presents and stocking fillers.

More than 200 people took part in lantern-making workshops at Todmorden High School at the weekend to prepare for the parade.

A team of Handmade Parade artists and volunteers helped them to design and make lanterns, inspired by the theme of “homes”.

Chris Sands, from festival organisers Totally Locally, said: “It just shows how much people are really, really excited by it.

“This is about the towns as a whole supporting each other.

“It’s a big celebration after all the hardship of the year.”

Chris thanked all the volunteers who have put in so many hours to prepare for the festival.

For anyone who missed the workshops, there is one last opportunity to get involved in the Todmorden celebration night.

At Kids Fest, which is taking place at Todmorden Town Hall on Saturday from noon until 4pm, there will be another chance to make a lantern, a costume and get your face painted.

Following the Todmorden parade, participants will be invited to keep their lanterns and join in the parades further up the valley over the next couple of weeks. The Hebden Bridge parade will take place on Thursday, November 29, at 6.30pm, setting off from the Handmade Parade workshop.

Come early to see Santa and sing carols at the Hebden Bridge Christmas lights switch-on from 5.30pm in St. George’s Square.

On the same evening, the Valley of Lights Night Bike Light Ride will set off from Bramsche Square, Todmorden, at 7.15pm.

Two hundred cyclists riding illuminated bikes will head up the valley through Hebden Bridge and arriving in Mytholmroyd around 8.40pm at the Dusty Miller.

On arrival, the cyclists will join in the celebrations as the pub is officially re-opened following extensive flood damage in the summer.

There has been a huge amount of interest in the bike ride.

Allan Boult, from Blazing Saddles in Hebden Bridge, said: “Excitement is building in the shop and sales of lights are going through the roof.

“We are getting enquiries on a daily basis and this will be a spectacular event which will appeal to all.”

To find out more and get involved, light bike workshops will be held at the Alternative Technology Centre, Hebden Bridge, on Saturday, from 11am until 3pm.

The Mytholmroyd parade will take place the following Saturday, December 1, at 5.45pm, starting at the community centre car park following the Christmas lights switch-on at 5pm.

Each parade will end with a spectacular fire finale in the town centre featuring giant puppets, shadow puppets, dance, fire drawings and music.

There will also be night markets, street performers, illuminated sculptures and strolling bands.

For more information about the festival - funded by Calderdale Council - the full programme of events or to get involved, visit