Houghton Feast celebrations kick off with a night of talent

The Houghton-le-Spring Pipe Band at the opening of Houghton Feast

The Houghton-le-Spring Pipe Band at the opening of Houghton Feast

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The annual Houghton Feast celebrations got under way tonight with a display of talent.

Thousands of people gathered in the town as schoolchildren, brass bands, dancers, and more took to the stage to show off their skills.

Houghton Area Youth Brass Band at the opening of Houghton Feast

Houghton Area Youth Brass Band at the opening of Houghton Feast

The movie-themed event, at The Broadway, featured performances from Houghton-le-Spring Pipe Band, Houghton Area Youth Band, Zazz School of Music and Dance, Hetton Lyons School Choir, and a laser show as Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Alan Emerson switched on the lights.

School children also lined the event with movie-themed lanterns they’d made, as they were joined by giant dancing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers lanterns.

Event host Kevin Reilly, of Houghton-le-Spring Pipe Band, said: “This is an event that highlights how communities come together and how young people can be involved with their community.

“There are 55 events organised over the next 10 days, that have been mostly organised by people in the community and it’s fantastic to see.

Crowds at the opening of Houghton Feast

Crowds at the opening of Houghton Feast

“There’s everything from road races to afternoon teas, and of course piping and dancing.”

Helen Hartwell, originally from Houghton, was there with her dad Stephen Davison, and her children Ben, nine, and Emma, six.

She now lives in South Hetton but has been going to the Houghton Feast every year since she was as young as her kids.

She said: “Tonight was brilliant, the effort that’s been put into it is fantastic. The laser show was brilliant too, and it was something really different.

The Mayor of Sunderland Coun. Alan Emerson switches on the lights to officially open Houghton Feast helped by pupils from Hetton Lyons Primary School.

The Mayor of Sunderland Coun. Alan Emerson switches on the lights to officially open Houghton Feast helped by pupils from Hetton Lyons Primary School.

“I’ve been coming since I was the kids’ age and I love it every year.”

Lisa Carmody went along to watch her daughter Emily, nine, dance as part of Zazz, along with friend Tracy Dickinson, whose daughter Kate, nine, is also part of the dance troupe.

Lisa said: “It was fabulous. It’s great seeing the community come together to support everyone and enjoy something together.”

Tracy added: “We were just so proud watching our girls dance in front of all those people.”

Houghton Feast lights

Houghton Feast lights

Houghton Feast runs until Sunday, October 16. Go to www.houghtonfeast.co.uk for a full list of events.

Giant dancing puppets at the opening of Houghton Feast

Giant dancing puppets at the opening of Houghton Feast

Members of Zazz School of Dance  entertaining the crowds a the opening of Houghton Feast

Members of Zazz School of Dance entertaining the crowds a the opening of Houghton Feast

Members of Zazz School of Dance  entertaining the crowds a the opening of Houghton Feast

Members of Zazz School of Dance entertaining the crowds a the opening of Houghton Feast

Some of the crowds at the opening of Houghton Feast

Some of the crowds at the opening of Houghton Feast

Giant dancing puppet at the opening of Houghton Feast

Giant dancing puppet at the opening of Houghton Feast