It’s no longer just a race - it’s a festival!
By the time the Tour De France reaches Yorkshire for the first time in its 111-year history in July, it will have already been the spark for a celebration of the county’s art and beauty.
On Monday, Welcome To Yorkshire pledged one of the biggest and best arts festivals the county has ever seen - Yorkshire Festival 2014 - which will run for 100 days up to the race reaching the county on July 5 and 6, including the latter day when it reaches the upper Calder Valley, going through Hebden Bridge and Cragg Vale.
Sponsored by Yorkshire Water, the cultural festival will begin on March 27 and is designed to encourage mass public participation in arts and cultural events in the run up to the Grand Depart.
Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome To Yorkshire, said recently there had been a huge response to a rallying call from the region’s arts community.
“We are in the final throes of agreeing the official festival programme which I can tell you features some absolutely fantastic events, The 100-day festival will be a really exciting way to welcome the world to Yorkshire,” he said.
The official festival programme is scheduled to be announced later this month. Locally many Calder Valley communities are already shaping plans of their own to mark the festival.
At the request of several parishoners, Heptonstall Parish Council is holding a public meeting on Monday, January 27 (7.30pm) at Heptonstall School, and officers who are involved in organising the Tour De France in Calderdale will be attending.
Among items to be discussed will be events to be held in and around the village during that weekend. Heptonstall Fell Runners are already well advanced with their ideas.
The meeting will also discuss availability of parking, camping and other accommodation issues as well as the effects of road closure on traffic and bus services in the parish.
The council has also written to the neighbouring parish of Blackshaw Head asking if their residents might be interested in attending the meeting.
The Tour De Tod steering committee has already been set up to help co-ordinate events in Todmorden, with Todmorden Information Centre a central point for providing help and receiving ideas.
Cynthia Murray, of the steering committee, said following Monday’s launch: “We are all very excited now that things are starting to happen .
“We think this is going to be a great event, and Todmorden will play its part.”
She urged people using social media to “like” or follow the following pages: www.facebook.com/TodTIC, www.twitter.com/TodTIC, www.bit.ly/tourdetod, www.twitter.com/tourdetod, www.facebook.com/yorkshirefestival and www.twitter.com/yfest2014.
“If you don’t, please can you pass those details on to friends and family who do!” she said.