We’ve just got back from the Festival of Thrift in our home town of Darlington and it’s hard to explain what a fantastic time we had at this totally unique event.
Billed as a showcase of how reusing, recycling and up cycling can be fun, save you money and benefit the environment, we were met with more than 1,000 of stalls, mouth-watering food, street performers, creative workshops, high brow discussion forums and a lot of fun.
Where else could you change into a swimsuit and get to ride around in a portable warm bath; get the chance to make your own den out of sheets and pegs; help out at a really special vegetable nursery (where you get to bottle feed and cuddle the young butternut squashes, carrots and garlics – think Mr Bloom but crazier); have your face stuck on the side of a train; or sit in a wheelbarrow whilst someone cools off your aching feet with a watering can?
The event, in its third year, was the brainchild of designer Wayne Hemmingway (last year’s event attracted a cool 40,000 people) but walking round in the sunshine you get the impression no-one could have ever imagined how weird and wacky the event would get.
A bar on a bus, a campervan turned into a mini restaurant and a massive vintage swop shop were just three of this year’s attractions – there really was something for all the family with artisan craft and food stalls nestled amongst the eye popping entertainment – fancy a mobile corny comedian or a 20s-style workout led by three swimwear-clad lovelies?
It’s free to get into the two day festival and many of the attractions are also free once you get in to the site at Lingfield Point business park.
You could argue the food and drink is a little dear but when you watch a man making the wrap from scratch for your Indian street food or talk to the man who just flew into Paris to make your crepe you realise you are getting the real deal and it’s worth every penny.
I really hope the festival will return next year – it made me proud to come from Darlington and hopefully showed the rest of the country what an ingenious little North-East town we are.