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December 12 2013 Latest news:
max temp: 8°C
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Knaresborough's annual Feva entertainment festival will set temperatures rising this month (whatever the weather), says Jo Haywood Photographs by Joan Russell
Knaresborough will be pretty in pink this summer. Or, to be absolutely accurate, fabulous in fuscia, as this bright, buzzy hue is the official colour of Feva, the towns bright, buzzy annual festival of entertainment and visual arts.
For ten days every summer, this historic riverside market town stages an incredible array of shows and events from art exhibitions and plays in the park to open air concerts and art trails.
An annual festival has been held in the town since 1996, when Knaresborough Festival was founded by the late Derrick van Zelst and his son Robin. This ran successfully for five years before a new group of volunteers came on board in 2001and renamed it Feva
Eleven years on, it has become a fully fledged festival, run for the community by the community, said committee member Nigel Perry. Knaresborough now turns pink with pride every August.
This years Feva, which runs from August 10th to 19th, looks set to be the biggest and best yet with a vast array of happenings, including rock, folk and jazz, street entertainment, arts and crafts, plays, talks, walks, special menus in the towns eateries and a two-day beer extravaganza.
There will also be a medieval sports day for children and a chance for them to learn DJin, MCin, rappin and beatboxin at a hip hop workshop.
Theres certainly something for all tastes, young and old, said John Minary, chairman of the organising committee. There are 81 events, shows and activities this year plus eight Flavours of Feva food adventures and 19 art exhibitions.
These ten days in August look set to be a huge party for the people of Knaresborough and any visitors who feel like joining us.
Admission charges, when they occur at all, are kept to a minimum, with most not getting anywhere near double figures. But the majority of events are free, including the free-for-all, crowd-pulling Picnic in the Park, which should draw large numbers to Knaresborough House on Saturday August 18th.
Feva is now a vital component of the towns calendar, but this doesnt mean that Knaresborough is a one-month-wonder kind of place. Its a lively hive of activity all year round, offering something for everyone, from the casual shopper to the history buff.
Tourist sites like the remains of Knaresborough Castle, a 900-year-old ruined fortress overlooking the River Nidd, the House in the Rock (you can probably work that one out for yourself), and Mother Shiptons petrifying well, where the high mineral content turns everyday items into eerie stone ghosts of themselves, attract sightseers to the town throughout the year.
Attracting money doesnt seem to be too much of a problem either, as Knaresborough has a good selection of independent shops and boutiques, including the site of Ye Oldest Chymist Shoppe in England, which dates back to 1720 and is now a luxury gift shop and tea room, and a popular famers market on the third Sunday of every month in the Market Place.
Knaresborough is, of course, not immune to the financial and social problems facing the whole of the UK, but it remains largely positive, its residents determined to overpower any gloom and doom that may be hovering with their own sense of fun.
In this period of prolonged austerity, I feel its even more important for Knaresborough, as a community that thrives, that we are able to stage an arts festival equal to if not better than last year, said John Minary, rallying the troops and summing up the towns admirably fierce attitude to fun.
When economic times are tough, art and entertainment become important influences in peoples lives. Feva is able to provide people with experiences which can give an uplift to the life of our entire community.
This years Feva looks set to be the biggest and best yet. If you cant make it to all 81 events, here are our edited highlights to put in your must-do diary.
How Does Your Garden Grow? at Art in the Mill, Green Dragon Yard, is a summer exhibition of pretty pictures (all in a row) in vibrant, living frames.
The Old Glasshouse Gallery is hosting Handmade Here, a heady mix of stained glass, ceramics, jewellery and photographic cards, all made on the premises.
Successful Yorkshire author Andrew Martin is giving a talk at the Fraser Theatre on the writers art as well as discussing his crime novels and humorous guide to domesticity for men, How To Get Things Really Flat.
There will be a murder at Knaresborough Library which the audience will help Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to solve (someone probably didnt return their Catherine Cookson on time).
Also at the treacherous library, BBC foreign correspondent Jill McGivering is giving a talk about turning her experiences into fiction.
And finally, a treat for the ears. Knaresborough Guild of Bellringers is performing 60 On Thirds to mark the towns Charter Day. With the right winds, visitors should be able to hear the performance right across the town.
For full listings and details of how to book tickets, visit feva.info or call tourist information on 01423 866886.
Getting there: The A59 is the main road to Knaresborough, offering a quick link via the nearby A1. The town is just minutes from Harrogate by bus for full timetables visit northyorkstravel.info and is on the rail network (nationalrail.co.uk).
Parking: Free spaces are available in the Market Place, Station Road, Fisher Street and Park Row. Reasonable paid-for spots can be found at Castle Yard, Chapel Street, Waterside and York Place.
Where to go: Mother Shiptons Cave & Historic Park, which claims to be Englands oldest visitor attraction, dating back to 1630, is a must as is Knaresborough Castle, with its rich history and superb views of both the town and valley.
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