Saturday, 3rd December dawned with the good news for the Dewsbury Christmas Lights of a weather forecast of only 5% probability of rain - which was music to our ears after the soaking we got last year. But fate wasn't finished with us yet as we waited for Covid test results to come in for one of our acts. Fortunately, they came in clear which made us very happy - for all of thirty minutes before another phone call from another act to say they were all down with Covid and could not appear.
Frantic phone calls ensued and with the enormous help of Creative Scene we were able to connect the loose ends and deliver a joined up programme for the people of Dewsbury.
Ri Ri Dance Academy
Ri Ri Dance led by multi award winning choreographer Ria Meera Munshi led the audience in two sessions of a fabulous, fun workshop with a fusion of Bollywood and Banghra dance routines.
Ria has held the Guiness World Record for the biggest Bollywood dance workshop so we could be sure the audience were in good hands.
The Hebble Band
Singer/songwriter Sam Hodgson on guitar and vocals, Helena on the cello and bodhran player/singer Aidan make up Hebble who delivered Irish/American folk with a Yorkshire twist.
Hailing originally from Ireland and both sides of the Pennines, these experienced performers combine instruments with vocals to play foot-tapping traditional Irish songs and tunes, as well as originals by Samh inspired by local history and landscape. They also like to throw some Americana into the mix.
The Baghaddies were a last minute stand iin act and were described to us as providing an exuberant and rampant brand of world music, an exhilarating cocktail of Balkan melodies, ska and latin grooves and sizzling brass played with furious energy and theatrical humour, making them as unforgettable on stage as they are when performing as wandering brass troubadours. They take themselves incredibly seriously so you don’t have to…"
And they didn't disappoint. A late addition to the program to replace one of our Covid losses the Baghdaddies engaged early with our Saturday lunchtime passers by before opening the entertainment on stage.
Adding to the mayhem before the stage show the Bad Santas were abroad in Dewsbury town centre demonstrating just how bad breakdancing can be. Relying more on a rolled up piece of lino and a big boom box to attract attention rather than their dance style they were intent on engaging with passers by to persuade them that Christmas was just around the corner.
Callaloo Carnival Arts
We think this lady is just waiting for Spring to arrive.....
Callaloo Carnival Arts introduced their new burrokeeta. The burrokeeta is a dancing donkey originally introduced to Christmas celebrations in Trinidad by Venezuelan settlers and now finding a new home in West Yorkshire
Thornhill Ukelele Band
Santa plus Roger the Ram and Friends
Santa was present in his Grotto and was visited by nearly 200 children during the afternoon with their Christmas wishes.
Roger the Ram, long serving mascot of Dewsbury Rams rugby league football club is accompanied here by Cllr Jackie Ramsay. Inside the costume is Richard Hartley who kindly made a number of other costumes available for enable an Alien a Shark and a Teddy Bear to join the menagerie to entertain the kids and lots of parents too.
Unfortunately, the others characters were moving too fast for the photographer!
And thanks to the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service who delivered another big red machine with flashing lights to keep the children engaged - and to all the Dewsbury residents who managed not to set anything alight while they were on site which would have triggered a rapid departure. !
And a special thanks to Master of Elves, Steve McGrath who single handedly kept the show on the road when confusion reigned behnd the scenes.
Earlsheaton Starlite Majorettes
Earlsheaton Starlites always do us proud with a demonstration of their skills.
Lantern Parade Finale
The children's Lantern Parade marched off to circumnavigate the town centre led by the Mambo Jambo duo before the children's choir gave us twenty minutes of their favourite seasonal songs. As the magic hour approached Rev Neil Walpole delivered a short blessing before the Mayor, Councillor Masood Ahmed, used his magic mayoral powers to switch on the lights.
And a BIG Thank You.... to all the volunteers without whom none of this would happen.
Rev Andy Cass
Rev Ruth Wood
Sgt Stuart Clarke
Our apologies to anyone we might have inadvertently missed out.