Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade at Calder Holmes Park, free entry - Visit now
The Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade is an incredible procession which courses through the centre of Hebden Bridge every year, featuring giant handmade puppets, costumes, performances, music and dancing. It’s an amazing spectacle, with up to 1,000 people parading through the streets of the town, and thousands more watching from the sides. The procession starts at the Handmade Parade workshops on Victoria street, winding its way through Hebden Bridge to Calder Homes Park, where there’s a musical finale and mini festival, complete with street theatre, dance, a picnic and food stalls by local vendors. In 2019, the provocation for the festivities was ‘Once upon a time’, with appearances from fantastical people and creatures from European myth and folklore – as well as a warning not to stray from the path…
This is, then, a uniquely creative and magical event, perhaps especially so because it’s deeply rooted in community engagement. In the run up to each Handmade Parade, there are three weeks of workshops, open to anybody who’d like to help make costumes, parade art, headpieces, banners and even the giant puppets that dominate the route. Donation is requested on entry, but all of the materials are provided, as well as help from an experienced team of local, professional carnival artists. It’s the people of Hebden Bridge who really help to make this festival what it is, their own involvement and imaginations that bring the Handmade Parade to life. There are even parade classes teaching Samba band skills or walking on stilts – no previous experience required.
The Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade was started in 2008 by a puppeteer who specialised in giant creations and large-scale community performances, Andrew Kim. The nighttime Lamplighter Festival in Todmorden followed, as did further community spectacles. The Handmade Parade remains a unique event, with its own celebratory atmosphere, which rightly draws crowds both locally and on the train from Manchester, Halifax and further afield. Time a visit with the festivities, and find out why they’re still so special.
Travel by public transport is recommended due to limited parking in the town.
Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade at Calder Holmes Park