The day of the Dewsbury Christmas Lights switch on dawned... bright and clear - no, definitely not that one. Windswept with lashing rainstorms would be more appropriate.
And the weather stayed that way as the day developed until finally loosening its wet grip of misery around 3pm, just in time for our entertainment programme to begin - but with the streets swept clean of spectators.
Despite the appalling conditions the Travelling Light performers, provided courtesy of Creative Scene, took shelter first under the Market Place gazebo and then ventured out into the empty streets to show what stern stuff they were made of. The Frost Fairies followed shortly afterwards. (Click to enlarge each image)
Meanwhile, last minute emergency measures with heavy duty plastic sheeting and tarpaulins were providing a slight improvement for the market stalls - but no improvement in the number of potential customers!
The Yorkshire Imperial Brass Band and the Sully Khan Dohl Drummers were intended to open the event with their varying styles of music throughout the town centre but, like the street artists, they ended up scurrying for shelter in the Market Place gazebo and the Princess of Wales precinct before returning to the shelter of the stage.
Yorkshire Imperial Brass Band
Sully Khan Dohl Drummers
Of our local majorette groups only Earlsheaton Starlites came through Covid well enough to field their girls and they offered an example of determination to put the rest of us to shame.
Team Parish Community Bus
The Community Bus continues to provide both an activity centre for the young and a place of support for the more vulnerable members of the community.
Thornton School Ukelele Band
The Ukelele Band managed to escape indoors to the Town Hall to give their performance during a particularly unpleasant rainstorm. Regrettably, that meant no-one there to take a photograph.
Caty with her family group
From Romania , Ecaterina Trif-Albu with her family was the first local group to take up our invitation to the many ethnic groupings that make up Dewsbury to show off their talents. We hope to have more in the future.
Satnam Galsian with John Hogg on electric guitar and Simon Henry on drums provided their unique blend of Punjabi folk combined with western backing.
The Thanda Trio
Based in the UK but originally from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa Thanda specialises in an eclectic blend of singing styles heavily influenced by his dual Zulu/Xhosa heritage with Western music.
With a big commitment by local schools to the creative workshops funded by the Dewsbury Schools Endowment Trust there was the best ever turnout by our local children for the Lantern Parade that stretched for more than 100 metres along the length of Longcauseway.
Christmas Lights Switch On
Returning to the Town Hall the children gathered on the Town Hall steps ready for the big switch on by Dewsbury's star teacher of the year Peter Simons from Thornhill School., winner of the 2020 Primary School Teacher of the Year Award,
The evening was brought to a close by a final set from Kelly James, a local favourite, with a selection of popular British pop.
Santa (plus some other strange characters!)
Not surprisingly, Santa and his Elves showed up in his rather splendid Grotto that materialised for just one day. There he dispensed gifts to his young visitors including Tiny Tim from the Dickensian treasure hunt and was visited by a contingent from WY Police among others. (Click to enlarge each image)
A BIG Thank You
We have to say a big Thank You to all those artists and performers, volunteers and, of course, our lovely, damp audience who braved the elements to support this event on the day. The conditions were appalling, the audience was distinctly sparse but it was a great example of true, Yorkshire grit - and a big thanks to everyone,