If you don’t live in this part of the world, then chances are you haven’t heard of Derby Feste. A weekend long celebration that has been called ‘One of the most exciting UK festivals for outdoor performance’ by The Guardian. It happened this past weekend and my brood and I went along to see what delights were roaming the streets this year.
We began the festival by meeting the Jelly Rollers Dragon. A wondrous red creature that is controlled by children cranking various wheels and cogs and making noise (much to their delight). Flags spin, horns sound and generally the kids get overexcited! He has an old world charm and I secretly harboured a wish to join in the fun.
Next we walked to the Cathedral Green and came across a giant pig! It’s eyes opened and closed lazily and ten children watched a show being performed inside the pigs belly. Unfortunately my children missed the show by Whalley Range All Stars, but I gather it was very good.
We then moved over to the Troll’s Kitchen where dozens of children were giggling wildly as a very charismatic chef (with a French accent as dangerously awful as my own) taught them to cook rather unsavoury dishes such as ‘Death by Cowpat’ or ‘Blackbeard Sushi’.
Back into the centre and we met two very large bugs. These gigantic green creepy crawlies were actually rather friendly, offering their bugging arms to shake. My son enthusiastically shook two at once and then bounced across the street!
After a short trip home for food (and large cups of tea for the parents) we made our way back and joined the parade. The Feste Finale was performed this year by the wonderful Surraga from Spain. It was the second time this wonderful company has lead the parade and this year they brought gigantic steam blowing fish with them. Presumably rather fit individuals ride a kind of bike contraption behind each puppet moving and animating as they go.
The first fish, a clown fish was similar enough to Disney’s Nemo to make every child in the city shout and squeal with delight. He spun and twisted while blowing steam upon unsuspecting victims who duly broke out in fits of hysterics.
We followed them through the streets and down to Cathedral Green. It was so busy here that we thought we wouldn’t see anything else. Luckily we were wrong as a firework display had been planned on the river bridge, to signal the end of the days festivities.
We got home terribly late and my children actually slept in on Sunday, so all in all a wonderful (and free!) event.