A spectacular parade of giant puppets, dancing and music was the highlight of Weave arts festival in Stalybridge town centre on Saturday 9 September. The free family event took place in and around Armentieres Square, Stalybridge, included carnival performances, music, dancing, street theatre and creative workshops.

Weave is part of Historic England’s collaborative ‘Hi! Street Fest’ project to celebrate high streets and the people who love and look after them. It is being delivered in partnership with Tameside Council, the Bridge Cultural Consortium, Mossley based arts organisation Global Grooves and outdoor arts company Emergency Exit Arts (EEA).

As part of Weave, Farrah the fox – a 5m high puppet who is taller than a double decker – zoomed into Stalybridge on a scooter on her journey across the country to all the Hi! Street Fest events. She was greeted by Charlie the millboy puppet and his friend Maude – who represents cotton workers across the global community. Together the characters will be showcased the town’s cotton heritage and its vibrant cultural scene of today.
The three puppets were part of the Cotton Carnival parade, which set off from Market Street at 11am, followed a route along Waterloo Road, back onto Market Street, then Melbourne Street, Corporation Street and Trinity Street before culminating in Armentieres square at approx. 11.30am. The parade also included over 200 fully costumed percussionists, dancers, brass players and community performers, showcasing the artistic talent of the local area. Weave was part of a wider weekend of cultural activity including the monthly Stalybridge Street Fest food festival on the Friday evening 5-9pm and Heritage Open Days, which will involve the library, Astley Cheetham Art Gallery and local churches being open to the public.