Penistone Mayor's Parade and Gala

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Iggledy Piggledy
The old Parade and Gala pages have all been rolled into this one to tidy things up, dump some poor pictures and make some server space.

Penistone Parade
Penistone has had an annual parade for donkey's years. It might well have followed on from the popular Whitsuntide parades which fizzled out over time. In those days, the Parade would start in Penistone and finish at Millhouse Green, with a massive turn-out. Various local churches and chapels would carry their banners suspended between poles. It was a big day. Everyone would join in and walk for at least part of the way. Many paraders were in fancy dress and it was huge fun for the little ones to be dressed up by their mums, sisters and aunts.

1974 ParadePenistone Parade carried on this tradition and (I think) it was organised by the local council. In more recent times the local Round Table became involved, as they do with other events like Bonfire night, and it continues as a strong local tradition. Now that Penistone has a mayor, the parade is called the Mayor's Parade by some and the Lord Mayor's Parade by others. We are not yet a city.

The route has varied widely over the years. In the 1970s it went along High Street, down Green Road at Hawley's Corner (as in the picture right, supplied by Paul Fieldsend), down to Spring Vale and up Sheffield Road, back to Penistone. That was quite a long way for the younger ones, although nearly everyone was riding on the back of some sort of truck. Another route took it through the council estate of Ward Street and Victoria Street, down to Green Road, etc. It might have travelled in the opposite direction on another occasion. Yet another route included a loop down Church Hill and back up Shrewsbury Road. In each case the judging was done near to the Showground.

In these mollycoddled days, the modern route covers a shorter circuit but it still a fair distance. Unlike some parades where most people are on foot (such as the Carribean one in Huddersfield), Penistone Parade is mostly decorated trucks with the paraders riding on them. Before the new supermarket arrived on the edge of the Showground, the floats would assemble on the shingled car park area. During the major roadworks of 2010, it set off for the first time from Talbot Road, near the Police Station. After the floats are judged by the mayor, the Parade arrives at Bridge Street's bridge, up past the British Legion and through the swathe of cheering crowds and flag wavers on Market St and High St., then it tootles past the Library and the Youth Club (Surf & Snack Shack).

It used to pass the old people's home before that was closed down. The old dears loved to see it and would gleefully catch any sweets thrown from the floats. Then it continues up Clarel Street, which quite steep. The floats, horses, cars and bucket shakers wheeze up the hill. At the top, they turn right and make their past the Junior School and around to the easy downhill run of Bluebell Ave and Park Ave to re-emerge on to High St., by the Co-op. Then they retrace their steps through the throng, where they rekindle cheers from the wobblier masses on Market Street, who have by now consumed a few glasses of beer. Past the equally wobbly Legion crowd and back to the Showground.

One of the funniest Penistone parades was when a dustbin wagon tagged on at the end to a great cheer and ironic applause. That must have been on a Saturday. Radio Hallam brought an inflatable man on their float on their one and only visit in the 1980s. All major road access into Penistone is under a bridge of some sort, so the headroom for other things is not very high. Their inflatable had to be lowered down several times to pass under telegraph wires and low bridges and they were visibly agitated and swearing under their breaths. They hadn't checked the route first. I was once involved with the Hepworth float, when I fitted it out with PA speakers. Everyone was dressed up as spacemen and spacewomen and it was great fun as my system belted out 'Star Trekking' (by 'The Firm'). I doubt that anyone in the crowd noticed our crate of lager hidden away.

ParadePolice horsesanother floatThe Crowd
ParadeParadeSilver SillhouettesVee haf Vays
Current mayorRegal wave from mayoressParadeMayor's Car

Recent Years
Each year Penistone Parade has a particular theme. It has now settled into a particular pattern and route, give or take deviations at the start and finish, and is always led by police horses and the current Town Mayor. The tail end is usually vintage cars and the fire engine. It always has a good supporting crowd as the little kids scramble for sweets thrown from the floats.

2001: The late Cllr George Punt was mayor and the theme appeared to be to do with cartoon characters, such as The Simpsons and Postman Pat. A marching band created plenty of sound. The showstopper at the Gala was a display of skydiving. Helicopter rides were on offer. Might have been about £20 for ten minutes. It was worth it.

2002: This was a Royal Jubilee year, marking fifty years of our queen's reign and the Parade exceeded all expectations. It had a lot more floats than usual and a large troupe of Fleur de Lys majorettes did their stuff and waved the union jack. The theme was 'Gold and Silver'; Gold from the Royal Jubilee and silver from the 'Mayor's 25th Parade'. All over the country, schools and businesses changed their routines to accommodate Royal and World Cup football events in June. People flew either the Union Jack or the St. George Cross on their houses and cars. As many as three million people 'threw a sickie' to watch the big match of England versus Brazil but we lost to the excellent Brazil team, 2 - 1. At the Gala, London Fire Brigade's parachute team and a stunt aeroplane display wowed the crowds. This was an exceptional year.

2003: It was a dull day but the Parade was spared the rain. The Gala wasn't. After the high spirits and huge efforts of 2002, this one seemed to fall a bit flat. The theme appears to have been children's stories and nursery rhymes. This time there were no majorettes but a marching police band came along to fill their dainty shoes. A troupe of chinese dancers made their energetic debut. As usual, the Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team, brought along a stretcher. The Gala wasn't exceptional.

2004: The theme was 'Musicals'. It was a lovely sunny day and the crowds were in high spirits. The Parade had much music, dancing and drumming. A splendid steam truck was in the Parade, with its huge central chimney. Two fire engines brought up the rear doing their 'Trumpton' impression, sirens going full blast. The Gala was bigger and better, with a lot of variety, trade stands and entertainments. It was exhausting to watch the tug-o'-war contests. The Young Farmers beat everyone. There were also two army stands - The Light Infantry and the Duke of Wellington's.

2005: The day was cold and windy with occasional sunny moments. Steady rain arrived later in the afternoon but too late to cause problems. It was a smaller Parade than usual but it was livened up by the Silver Silhouettes Majorettes. The theme was 'Countries of the World'. Cllrs Roger and Brenda Hinchliffe were in the spirit of the day, in an open-top Citroen 2CV, complete with Grandfather clock. The Gala had all the usual things but also a South Yorks Fire Service display. This year's mayor was Brenda Hinchliffe, resplendent in gold chainery. She was spotted later in the beer tent, appropriately sampling a half of the specially-brewed 'Mayor's Tipple'.

2006: It was good parade on a hot sunny day, with a good turnout and no fewer than three bands. One of these was Phoenix Drum and Trumpet Corps from Warrington. As always, the camel ambled along. Never did work out what the camel was all about but it is there every year. This year's mayor was Cllr Nora Collett, not 'Lord Mayor' as sponsor Toyota had it. The Gala was not a big one but it had Penistone FM's stand, which attracted some interest. PFm was not yet on the air but waiting for September's temporary licence, to cover the Show.

2007: The theme this year was Space and Science Fiction. It started cloudy but became sunny and was pleasantly warm. Razzmatazz Musical Theatre Company roused the crowds and a drum band raised a great wall of sound. Mountain Rescue and the camel did not let us down. Firemen raised shrieks from the crowd as they sprayed water from fire engine windows. The Gala had jousting knights for something new and the crowd was greatly entertained by the knights' antics.

2008: Cllr Paul Hand-Davis was this year's mayor and was the picture of elegance as he took the tour in a fine vintage car on a fine sunny day. The theme was 'Fashion through the Ages' and a great deal of work went into floats and costumes. The main Gala event was a motorbike stunt team with fire and explosions, also the Knights were back with a mock battle. Yorkshire Rifles army unit set up a paintball range.

2009: As this was the sixtieth anniversary of the start of the Second World War, the parade had a 1940s theme (Whalemeat again?) It was a very hot sunny day again and the crowd was at bursting point. Cllr Roger Hinchliff was mayor this time. In spite of the theme, the big spectacle of the Parade was a Monster Fire truck, which bounced up and down and shot out sheets of flame to the wild approval of the crowd. The Gala seemed to be a leaner affair than usual and many of the usual trade stands didn't turrn up.

2010: The theme was 'Films Through the Ages', possibly with a nod towards Holmfirth's first Film Festival, although they weren't represented on the Showground. Penistone Gymnastics Society demonstrated their skills prior to the parade setting off. Major roadworks caused problems and it was not possible to start and finish at the Showground. For the first time, the Parade started from Talbot Road and there were fewer floats than usual. None the less, the large turnout made it a success. We can't blame the participants for the problems. This year's major was Cllr Carol Bradbury and she carried out her duties with a regal grace in a fine vintage Jaguar. The Gala was lean again. The parade had been dry but the heavens opened later and people left the Gala earlier than they might have done. Take 2 Big Band gave a rollicking performance in a marquee, as the crowds pushed in to get away from the rain.

2011: Now that the major upheaval of the new supermarket and the long-lasting roadworks are out of the way, we might reasonably hope for renewed vigour in the Parade and Gala this year.

Penistone FmThe bandSweet girliesPoppos
ParadeYoung FarmersMilkmaidCadets
ParadeParadeOld AustinsWrestling with air
Gala CrowdJousterPenistone Fm at the Galaskydiver

Penistone Gala
The Gala is very variable in quality. Some years it has plenty while other years there isn't much there. It might include some or all of these: classic cars, Fire Service display, majorettes, local radio (Penistone Fm), children's rides, races, inflatable kids, fairground and entertainments, army display, tug-o'-war, piano smash, youth footie, RSPCA dog show, beer tent, horsey stuff, clothing, assorted market and trade stalls, cars, refreshments, ice cream van, crafts, pictures, marmalade, cakes, buns, sweets, flowers and plants. Sometimes a binocular stand comes along.

Proms and Rock Concert
In modern times the Parade and Gala have been on Sundays but Saturdays are also part of Penistone Parade Weekend. Saturday afternoon has 'Proms in the Park', with perhaps a choir and a brass band. You can sit on a nearby bench seat on the Trans-Pennine trail to have a listen in the afternoon. A rock band comes along to the marquee in the evening, when there is also a licenced bar. These events are well supported and often sold out. They offer the chance for local bands to perform and raise their profiles. Some of the bands have been tribute bands. You can guess from the names.

Some who have performed, day and night:

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