THE sun, the sounds and the samba beat made it feel like Latin America. Yet in fact it was Town of Culture Stalybridge Street Fest – but carnival-style.
Colourfully attired drummers, dancers and musicians had people swaying in time as the Bloco Mente band from Mossley arts organisation Global Grooves made its way around Armentieres Square, entertaining the huge crowds who had turned out to enjoy the monthly street-food celebration on the banks of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
Following on was Padmini, a huge carnival figure based a famous Indian actress who appeared in more than 250 Bollywood films.
The usual wide array of delicious food and drink was on offer including wood-fired pizzas, hot dogs, halloumi fries, churros, crepes, ice cream and much more.
All of it was enjoyed in a relaxed, family-friendly, carnival atmosphere generated by the samba beat, and there was some great feedback. Among the many positive comments were: "Absolute knockout fest. Loved the dancers, puppet and drummers. Well done everyone". "Brilliant – it was amazing" and "excellent turnout. Well done to all involved".
Thanks to Stalybridge's status as Greater Manchester's Town of Culture, each monthly Street Fest in 2022 has a specific theme. For the next one, on Friday, July 8, it's Bee More Green.
The town will be hosting other events, too, including carnival weekend (June 5-26) and canal weekend (September 9-11) as well as talks, concerts and family theatre. For full details visit www.intameside.co.uk
Cllr Sangita Patel Tameside Council's assistant executive member for culture, heritage and digital inclusivity, said: "Stalybridge may be many thousands of miles from South America on a map but they were very close at the last Street Fest. The crowds clearly loved the carnival vibe and its sounds and colours.
"July will mark a year since the first Street Fest was held and the event has grown in popularity as each month has passed. With more great themes on the way as part of Town of Culture, there's lots to look forward to as Street Fest gets bigger and better."
Street Fest, which takes place in Armentieres Square on the second Friday of every month (5 to 9pm), is a family feelgood gathering that has put Stalybridge firmly on Greater Manchester's culinary map.
Featuring traders supplying food and drink to suit all tastes, and against a background of live entertainment, Street Fest is a unique social event which appeals to all ages by offering a continental-style street market event right in the picturesque and historic heart of the town.