PREPARATIONS are in full swing for this year’s Houghton Feast.
The festival, which dates back to the 12th century, will kick off with a spectacular opening ceremony next week.
During the course of the 10-day celebration, dozens of events are taking place in and around the town, including the traditional roasting of the ox, firework display and various exhibitions.
There is also a literature festival with guest speakers including former MP Chris Mullin.
One of the highlights is the carnival parade, now in its 45th year. Floats, vintage and classic cars and marching bands will parade through the town.
Houghton Round Table, whose volunteers help to organise the parade, says it has been pleasantly surprised by the number of groups which have come forward to get involved.
John Price, of Houghton Round Table, said: “There are a lot of groups who are now taking part in this year’s parade.
“There are 20 to 30 vintage vehicles, including cars and steam and traction engines. There are a number of schools and community groups who will be in the parade and they are the type of people we didn’t have in last year.
“The message to them is thank you for signing up and hopefully that will provide a great parade which we are confident the people of Houghton will come along to see. Now all we need is thousands of people to line the streets.”
Round Table representatives will also use the parade to fund-raise for charities.
The parade takes place on Saturday, October 8, starting at 2pm.
The parade route will leave Kepier Medical Centre and go into the Broadway before journeying to Dairy Lane.
The official opening ceremony takes place on Friday, October 7, with the switching on of the illuminations at The Broadway, in Houghton, at 7pm.
For a full programme of events, go to www.sunderland.gov.uk.