Where: Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
What is it?
This is the 30th year of the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival. The festival takes place from 15th to 21st February with the theme of Landmarks.
Every odd year Slaithwaite celebrate their smuggling history with the Moonraking Festival. The story goes that in the 19th Century there was a profitable smuggling trade using the canal running through Slaithwaite. At the risk of getting caught, the smugglers dumped their barrels of booze in nearby reeds and waited for nightfall to retrieve their booty. One day, whilst raking the barrels out of the reeds, the men were approached by two excise officers and had to quickly make their excuses. Seeing the reflection of the moon in the canal the smugglers claimed to be trying to rescue the moon from the canal with their rakes. The officers took them for fools and left them to their smuggling.
This quirky history is celebrated in Slaithwaite with a series of events including workshops, shows, music and storytelling. The highlight of the festival though is the Moonraking Procession and Finale. This year the parade takes place on the 21st February 2015. The people of Slaithwaite gather in the early evening to float a giant moon in a boat down the canal. With the accompaniment of performances and fireworks, the moon is raked out by ‘Moon Maidens’. Along with children and adults carrying lanterns, the moon is then paraded around the village. Musicians and locals in fancy dress join in with the parade.
Other events taking place during the festival week include:
An exhibition marking the 30 years of the festival, opening on 14th February.
A Story Telling Workshop with Susanna Meese on 15th February. The workshop will help you tell your own stories and personal tales.
An Evening with Fettle Animation on 16th February with films and a Q&A.
The Magic Feather by Satellite Arts on 18th February. Grandy, the musical bus driver takes young children and families on an imaginary bus ride in this storytelling show.
A Pop up Drama Workshop with the Lawrence Batley Theatre on 19th February.
O’Hooley and Tidow perform songs from their new album at The Watershed on 19th February.
Slaithwaite Library presents Pandora’s Daughter’s Puppet Storytelling Company with ‘People, Poetry and Yorkshire Landmarks’ on 21st February.
The Hand Made Trail on 21st February, showcasing the best of artisan culture in all areas of the village centre.