Willy Wonka and his Oompa Loompas, Cinderella and Prince Charming, the cast of Call the Midwife and even John Bull and Britannia took to the streets of Greatham as the village staged its annual Feast celebration on Saturday.
The Greatham Feast has been running for 555 years and this summer’s event saw the scorching sunshine ensure a bumper turn-out.
Bev Hutchinson is chairman of the organising committee, which also includes her sister Bethan, Dawn Coleman, Stephanie Fleet and Mandy Farrell.
“This is absolutely fantastic,” she said.
“It has completely blown us away, it really has.
“All the pain and all the effort is worth it when you see it like this.”
Without the support of the village, it simply would not be possible. They do it really.Bev Hutchinson
And she thanked the Hartlepool Mail for the support it has given to the event: “This year the Mail has really pushed it for us,” said Bev.
Saturday’s blazing sunshine ensured the village green was packed with people.
“The last two years have also been sunny, so it’s really starting to build a bit of momentum, now,” said Bev.
“When I was a kid, it seemed to rain every year.”
The Feast was a result of real village community co-operation, said Bev.
“All of this comes from the village,” she said.
“Local residents, people who use the pub, people who have family here, whose kids go to the school, it is all down to donations.
“We are not a registered charity. All the money we raise today from the will be ploughed back into it for next year so we can do it all over again.
“Without the support of the village, it simply would not be possible.
“They do it really.”
The day kicked off with a parade through the village from the Smith’s Arms pub to the green, where the fancy drs was judged.
The children’s section was won by Willie Wonka and the virtually entire cast of the hit film.
Gemma Kinnersley was the brains behind the winning entry, and explained she was part of a group of mums who entered every year.
Pulling the costumes and props together had taken several months, she explained: “We started out as a bunch of friends and we just keep getting more and more people involved.
“We just throw ideas around a couple of months beforehand and then agree on what we are going to do,” said Gemma.
“Last year we did VE Day and the year before that we did the Minions from Despicable Me.
“We’ve also done things like Toy Story in the past.
“We are all original villagers and all the children go to Greatham School.
“The kids just love it - we always have a picnic beforehand and they love the hot dogs.
“We managed to bodge most of the costumes together - it was a bit more difficult doing Willy Wonka himself - but the props and things we have had to make ourselves from scratch.”