FROM the bizarre to the spectacular, there was a visual treat in store for hundreds who turned out for the opening of this year’s Houghton Feast.
Mayor of Sunderland Coun Norma Wright got celebrations under way as the Feast, which dates back to the 12th century, got into full swing last night.
Fireworks lit up the sky as weird and wonderful creations, based on this year’s theme of Myths and Legends, paraded past schoolchildren and civic dignitaries outside St Michael and All Angels’ Church, The Broadway.
The highlight was a special performance of the Houghton Wyvern, a mechanical dragon which had the audience applauding as it slithered along t.
Coun Mel Speding, who has helped with preparations for this year’s Feast, said: “It’s been very good. New Penshaw Primary and the rest of the schools that have been involved have all done really well.
“It’s an important community event so there’s loads of people involved from Houghton, Shiney Row and Hetton.”
Jennifer Matthews, 38, who went along with her five-year-old son, Sam, said: “I just like to see all the kids having a good time. It’s a nice tradition.”
Coun Colin Wakefield, who represents the Copt Hill ward, also hailed the opening ceremony.
He said: “It’s a big event which we are very proud of. It’s good to see so many people here and so many kids as well.
“I also thought the fireworks were spectacular.”
The Feast was revived in 1967 into a 10-day celebration.
Events will be taken place throughout the town until Sunday, October 16.
Festivities continue today with the annual Feast Parade at 2pm, organised by Houghton Round Table, starting from Kepier Medical Practice.
A descendant of famous Houghton rector Bernard Gilpin, preacher David Gilpin, is due to visit Eschol Church, Burn Promenade, in Houghton, at 6.30pm today.
* A man had to be taken to hospital after falling over just yards from the Feast ceremony.
Paramedics were seen treating a bleeding wound to the back of his head just after 8pm.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “The man fell over close to The Britannia Inn and has been taken to hospital for treatment with a slight head injury.”
* See more pictures from the Feast in Monday’s Echo.