Houghton Feast opens with a bang

Fireworks and illuminations at the Houghton Feast 2012 Opening Ceremony
Fireworks and illuminations at the Houghton Feast 2012 Opening Ceremony
5
Have your say

IT may date back to the 1100s, but the Houghton Feast proved to be as popular as ever as crowds flocked to its opening ceremony.

The traditional festival, which kicked off last night with a tattoo and spectacular firework display, originated as Michaelmas, the dedication service to the Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels.

Fireworks and illuminations at the Houghton Feast 2012 Opening Ceremony

Fireworks and illuminations at the Houghton Feast 2012 Opening Ceremony

Since then, it has grown in popularity, with people of all ages packing into the town for its latest launch.

The extravaganza included crowd-pleasing performances by the Houghton Pipe Band, Zazz Irish Dancers and African Drummers.

The evening’s finale featured a jubilee beacon, which was lit on top of St Michael’s Church, and dazzling firework display at Rectory Park.

Councillor Iain Kay, the Mayor of Sunderland, switched on Houhgton’s illuminations.

“It was a real honour as the Mayor of Sunderland to officially open an even that has become so well established a key heritage event in the city’s calendar,” he said.

“I am sure that the 2012 event will be an outstanding success, thanks to the efforts of so many local enthusiasts who make it happen.”

As well as the much-anticipated ox-roasting, this year’s 10-day festival features more than 60 attractions, including a host of fairground rides, church and community events, exhibitions, talks and tours.

Today will see the carnival parade take to the streets at 2pm.

This year the event has been given a special Diamond Jubilee theme to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.

Houghton Round Table member and parade organiser John Price said the recent popularity of the parade had helped improve the feast for visitors.

“It’s got better in recent years,” he added.

“The more the merrier and as long as people participate, then that’s great.”

Tomorrow, there will be a festive civic service at St Michael’s Church at 10.30am.

The festival runs until Sunday, October 14.

For a full list of events, {http://visit www.houghtonfeast.co.uk|www.houghtonfeast.co.uk|www.houghtonfeast.co.uk}.