Family Arts Correspondent
8:52 PM 23rd October 2019
‘Magic In The Air’ With Sledmere Fireworks Display
Now in its fifth year, the extravaganza of fireworks at Sledmere House - their Musical Fireworks Spectacular event - has made its way firmly onto my list of the best events of the season.
Sledmere is a spectacular setting for such an occasion (to be completely honest, for most occasions) – surrounded by the beautiful Yorkshire Wolds, with its own Capability Brown parkland and unusual early eighteenth-century walled garden; there is always plenty to occupy visitors, including an adventure playground for younger guests.
But each year at this time, the place is transformed, filled with music and spectacle and a rather large dose of something magical.
This year, Sledmere House is holding their event on Saturday 26 October, to kick off half-term week. With live music from York-based band The Mix, there’s also a fun fair and plenty of feasting! Sledmere Farm Shop and Coach House Café will be selling its usual fabulous range of Estate-produced burgers and rare-breed pork hot dogs, ideal fast family nourishment. Other carefully-selected local caterers will have Traditional Fish & Chips and Pie & Peas on offer, along with a bar.
The grounds are opening from 4.00pm, allowing families to spend time on site to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the amenities and celebrations before the fireworks commence at 7.30pm.
Lots of other exciting family activities are also on offer during half term, from Sunday 27 October to Sunday 3 November (excluding Monday) - with a Petrifying Pumpkin Hunt, a Bats and Cats Stable Trail, and a Beastly Broom Search across the grounds and gardens, not forgetting a visit to the adventure play area.
It’s always fun for families to participate in spooky activities this time of year – but it’s especially welcome news that Sledmere is continuing to mark Guy Fawkes or Bonfire Night (albeit a little early) with their fireworks display too. In fact, this seems to be established as a regular annual event.
Thanks to globalisation, Hallowe’en traditions from across the Atlantic have resolutely established their place in the British calendar, with approximately half the population expected to spend money on Hallowe’en this month. Unsurprisingly, this has pushed the very British affair of the fifth of November into the shadows a little.
But fireworks at this time of year are part of our British culture and heritage. In our house, growing up, it was called Plot Night, and the night before known as Mischief Night, terms which deliciously evoke the guile of the schemers over 400 years ago and the festivities springing up almost immediately, ensuring we still ‘remember, remember the fifth of November’.
The concept of a special annual celebration to mark the failed assassination attempt on King James was suggested by a Puritan Member of Parliament, Edward Montagu, who felt (somewhat sycophantically) that the king’s deliverance, apparently by divine intervention, was deserving of remembrance. Early merriments included music, revelry, feasting, drinking and even artillery salutes on 5th November.
It’s a tradition, I believe, worth saving – a chance to celebrate our history with good old-fashioned excitement and pageantry. Indeed, the Musical Fireworks Spectacular at Sledmere promises its fair share of pageantry too!
Sledmere House and Estate is open daily, except Mondays, from 10am until 5pm. (Closed Mondays)
For tickets for the Musical Fireworks Spectacular, visit the website: https://www.sledmerehouse.com/events/details/musical-fireworks-spectacular
Advance tickets cost £10 for adults and £5.50 for children, though Friends’ members receive a discount.