|The Green Man|
|This is the fire display I was a part of|
The 2012 MIFF event was held on the 4th of February and on that day, perfect snow fell. Nice and crunchy underfoot. The festival starts in the village near the train station by the Railway pub. Drummers and people masked as foxes walked with lanterns, heading a procession towards the Imbolc festival location – the Standedge Visitor Centre. All the people follow in the procession – carrying homemade lanterns made of willow withy and white tissue paper. Along the road were several lanterns hanging from trees, glowing like little moons. When the procession reaches the visitor centre, they see down from the road, the sight of the fire twirlers on their hill, already performing their synchronized routines.
Earlier, all the fire swingers and performers, in their layers of black clothing, had gathered in the Visitor Centre where it was warm with heaters and a variety of hot soups. The Standedge Visitor Centre is on the canal, by a man made tunnel - a canal tunnel that runs through the hills and is the largest and longest in the UK. The performance is held on a slope by the visitor centre. Along with the fire performance is a lot of fireworks and a battle between two giants – Jack Frost and the Green Man – and being Imbolc, you know the outcome – the Green Man always wins.
|That is me on the far left, twirling my poi|
The event was over quicker than it started, and was a huge success – the people loved the snow, they all felt that Jack Frost won this time – it seems he did, after the blizzard finished, which was going on during the entire show, it was a crisp, icy winter wonderland, and the moon was almost full upon the white landscape.
|The parade, starting in the village of Marsden, was led by the Crow and|
the Mr Fox morris team
|What the parade of people saw as they came upon the road above|
Standedge Visitor Centre
|I am one of these people here waiting|
|Jack Frost and his retinue|
|The Green Man|
|The fight between Winter and Spring|
|The Victorious Green Man|
|The drummers of the event|
|My friend Paddy is the Crow|
|The Green Man and his retinue|
|Finale fire displays|
(photos courtesy of Ali Smithie, Gary Stevenson, and the Daily Mail)