Even more so in the literal sense!

A picture of 'Dangerous Dave', one of the side shows at this year's Stalybridge Splash
Dangerous Dave and Herbert: one of the street theatre acts at this year's Stalybridge Splash.

Some of us must have been gluttons for punishment. There may have been the counter-attractions of a new series of Come Dine With Me, the Whit Walks and Manchester United’s Premier League winning side parading the streets of Manchester. Or BBC One’s showing of Wall-E. Some 5,000 to 10,000 hardy souls braved a rain sodden Stalybridge for the tenth Stalybridge Splash festival.

Though the weather depressed footfall, a few brave souls were treated to a mix of live entertainment, street theatre, side shows and fairground rides. For al fresco diners oblivious to the cold and damp weather, there was plenty of ice cream and fast food stalls.

Towards Armentieres Square, the main stage played host to local rock and pop bands and the Donahey’s dance troupe. Master of Ceremonies was Tameside Radio’s Wayne Kay, disc jockey for the station’s breakfast show. Marquees at Grosvenor Street played host to puppet shows with the one near Legends Bar specialising in clay puppetry. The civic hall played host to the Presto Puppet Theatre with three shows. Outside, statuesque puppets roamed Melbourne Street and Trinity Street.

Further musical entertainment came courtesy of the Holy Trinity Church’s gospel choir, which was well received, as well as providing some shelter from the wintry conditions. For Stalybridge’s special day, staff from The Park Café in Bayley Hall, Hyde Park gave away samples of carrot cake. Besides TESCO, some shops and cafés also opened their doors.

Let’s hope the 2012 Stalybridge Splash is rewarded with better weather than this year’s event.

S.V., 30 May 2011.

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