A Feast for the calendar? The Correspondent examines the impact of Stalybridge Street Feast and finds out the desire for it to stay

STALYBRIDGE Street Feast has proved an undoubted hit, with almost 10,000 people believed to have descended on the town at its three events so far.

However, there are just two more left in the calendar and talks on keeping it for 2022 are underway.

A growing number of stall holders say it has been a hit, so do a number of businesses around the town.

Stalybridge street feast in October 2021

Like anything, though, its future is all down to whether money can be found to help stage it, with many people giving up their free time to make it a success. Dukinfield/Stalybridge Councillor Eleanor Wills is the driving force behind Street Feast’s introduction and if she had her way, it will be back on the calendar.

She also outlined some of the behind the scenes work that goes into it and what may count against it.

Speaking to The Correspondent, she said: “As a local councillor, there’s massive justification for bringing it back in terms of its value to local people and the local economy.

“But the funding is what we’ve got to look at. I‘ll do what I can to get more in the pipeline, so we’ll be having conversations in the coming weeks.

“At the moment, it‘s successful because of the hard work of council officers, a lot of whom have given their time for free.

“They’re not on the official clock. They want to come down and make it a success.

“However, there are still a lot of costs in terms of the infrastructure of the event – the road closures, the toilets, the clean up, having people marshal the event, entertainers.

“It’s not self-sustaining at the moment but that’s not to say it won’t be in the future but there are a lot of arms to it for it to justify its value.

“I hope to have an update by the end of the year and I’m not saying there won’t be any gaps.

You’ve got to look at if there’s any value when it’s snowing, so it may be we have a bit of the gap then we start again in late-Spring.

“That’s my hope but it’s been a great success.

“We took a few lessons from the first one – which was very much a bedding-in process – in terms of spreading things out but I haven’t really heard anyone say anything negative about them.

“There were about 3,000 people at the first one and a similar figure for the other two. That shows it’s been something worth doing.

“At the first one, there were eight traders and we’re up to about 14 now. They’ve all done a good trade and there’s been local business participation.

“Florence and Amelia’s stays open, Magpie’s Nest has done really well and they’ve extended their pop-up arrangement inside too. B You B Beautiful, Aspinall’s and Dress N Tonic, have done well too.

“It’s nice to see businesses getting involved, joining in and seeing the benefits with extra footfall.”

The final two editions of Stalybridge Street Feast are scheduled for Friday, November 12 and Friday, December 10.

Naturally, the aim is for the December date to be a Christmas-themed event but November’s will see entertainment from the Global Grooves group, who will be bringing their carnival creations to Armentieres Square.

The Civic Hall in Stalybridge was opened for guests to enjoy their food and drinks inside

Entertainment will also be provided in the town’s Civic Hall, with more local dance groups interested in taking part, and there will be extra gazebos in case the weather gods’ minds change.

“Global Grooves will be providing some of their great cultural offering,” Cllr Wills added. “Some of the awesome puppets they do, including the fire breathing dragon.

“That will be quite spectacular and there’ll be entertainment in the Civic Hall too. There will be acoustic music and face painting and crafty things for the kids.

“The next one will hopefully be similar to the last one. Even if the weather isn’t great, the set-up and structure will be the same. Some people like being outside.”

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