Thursday, January 2, 2014

Grassington Dickensian Festival 2013, England

We visited the Grassington Dickensian Festival again in 2013. We went in 2011 and thought it was one of the best Christmas festivals in Yorkshire. This time we went a little later in the day and experienced some new parts of the festival.

Grassington Dickensian Festival 2013

On our first arrival, we saw a group of Morris Dancers from Leeds. Their performance was very entertaining.

Morris Dancers in action

Morris Dancers ready for another go

After watching the dancers, we ducked into one of the church cafes for some hot chocolate and mince pies. We used the loo and then headed up the street to see more wonders of the festival.

More of the streets

Meat pie stall

We saw one of our favorites from the last visit--Hardcastle's Amazing Human Vegetable Machine. It's a sort of slot machine where patrons put in £1 in the hopes of winning £5. Three people in the machine start laughing (though it is more like cackling if you ask me) and eventually produce a random piece of veg. If all three pieces match, the patron wins! We didn't see anyone win. Not that I am saying it's rigged, but as soon as a contrary piece of veg showed up, the human who showed it said, "bah humbug!"

Human Vegetable Machine

Here's the machine in action!

Further up the street we saw a fun hat shop where L fell in love with a frog hat. We bought it for her, so you may see it in future blog posts.

L's new hat

At the top of the hill we discovered the trail to Santa's Grotto. We followed the signs carefully until we arrived at the right building.

Part of the signs

A well-disguised grotto

Inside, we had to wait in a short line before seeing Santa. L wanted to touch everything. Somehow we kept her from cutting in line to touch the white tree in the front. Eventually she was satisfied.

L's fondest wish

We were ushered into Santa's little room where he asked the kids some questions. L was too shy to answer but J filled the gaps. When Santa asked J what he wanted for Christmas, J said, "A hexbug," which is a robotic insect. Santa said, "You want a Xbox? I may have to get my American elves to work on that!" J didn't correct Santa (such a polite boy!) so hopefully we don't get the wrong item down the chimney!

J grilled by Santa

L not too shy for a picture

We saw more booths when we walked down a different street. One stall had candle dipping. Customers could change regular white tapered candles into colorful creations. L really wanted to do it and J joined in.

Customers with their plain white candles

L has her go

J has his go

We are using the candles at dinner time which is very pleasant. Further down the street we stopped in at the Grassington Folk Museum, which has a variety of exhibits on local farming life, World War II, and other sundries.

An 1800s doll house

Vintage games

1920s items

We walked out of the museum and saw the evening torch-lit procession. Various torch bearers guide Joseph and Mary (on a donkey) up the hill to the church where carols are sung. J and L both wanted torches but we said that was for grown-ups.

Lucky fire-bearers

We headed down the hill rather than up, so we could catch the bus back to our car. It was a fun visit and definitely one of the things to do if you're in Yorkshire during the Christmas season.

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