Pontefract: Liquorice Festival marks 18th year with celebration

'Chicks with Sticks' dressed as Liquorice Allsorts at the festival.
'Chicks with Sticks' dressed as Liquorice Allsorts at the festival.
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A sweet celebration took over Pontefract on Sunday as the town welcomed back its annual liquorice festival.

Now in it’s 18th year, the showpiece festival commemorates the former mining town’s historic links with the plant.

Thousands of visitors took advantage of the sunshine and flocked to enjoy a host of family friendly events including free workshops featuring liquorice accessories and liquorice-themed kite-making.

Other attractions at the Wakefield Council event included puppet shows, magic displays, street theatre and live music.

Speaking before the festival officially got underway, Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “This year is set to be the best Pontefract Liquorice Festival so far with even more fun and treats planned than ever before – we welcome everyone from right across the district to join us.

“It is a great opportunity to come and spend the day with family and friends in the historic town of Pontefract.”

Festival-goers were welcomed to the event by colourful mascot Lucy Liquorice, and took part in activities like cupcake decorating, samba drumming and facepainting.

There was also a range of interactive animal displays including a mini petting farm and a birds of prey display.

More than 50 market stalls were also set up offering local crafts, food and produce.

The Pontefract Liquorice festival is believed to be the only event in the world that celebrates liquorice.

The town has long-established links with the treat, and liquorice is thought to have been brought to Pontefract from the Crusades by a member of the De Lacy family who built Pontefract Castle or by the Benedictine monks that came to the town in 1090.

Yesterday’s festival came hot on the heels of another family event, which was held in the grounds of Pontefract Castle on Saturday.

The Picnic in the Castle event got underway in the morning, and was organised in partnership with the Pontefract Heritage Group.

Families brought along their picnics and spent the day enjoying brass band music, Viking re-enactments, craft activities, and a bouncy castle.

In the evening, the Proms in the Castle event took over and featured a programme of classical music from the West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra followed by a firework finale.

To find out more about future events contact the Wakefield Visitor Centre on 0845 601 8353 or visit www.wakefield.gov.uk

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