A THICK fug of smoke hung over Kendal last night (Sunday) as Mintfest bowed out with a stellar fireworks display watched by thousands on Castle Hill.
Pigs did indeed fly as winged porcine lanterns, a searing sax solo and tribal drumming brought the weekend's events to a close in the castle's shadow.
Throughout the three days, the whole of Stricklandgate was a stage for the seventh annual event.
The weird, wonderful, strange and silly stalked the streets with laughter, music and madness dominating.
With 40 acts at 15 different cross-town venues, there were also seven international acts and as many bands.
To the delight of organisers, the international street arts festival was blessed with dry weather and thousands turned out for the showcase presented by Kendal Arts International and its Manchester namesake.
Director Julie Tait said today: “I am really pleased with this year’s Mintfest. Local businesses are telling us that more and more visitors are coming to the area for the festival, and that during Mintfest trade is booming “
The act which had arguably travelled the furthest was the striking Intergalactic Time Traveller; a kind of ancient, Asian take on Robocop which was body-popping outside NewLook.
Director Neran Persaud said: “This is the first time we have taken it out and so far the response has been really positive. It’s improvisation, mime and spontaneous reaction with the audience.”
In the Elephant Yard and proclaiming Manchester “the capital of fashion,” were ‘vulgar fashionistas’, Rubela and Bonjela from a Fettle of Kisch.
Their act “The Door Stoppers” saw the brassy self-appointed style icons touring with a “virtual VIP lounge”.
Assessing the dress-styles of onlookers, Rubela comically declared: “The people of Kendal so far have made no effort at all. It’s a bit too Karrimor for my liking - very casual, very ramblers.”
Roaming Market Place with a loud hailer was ‘parole officer’ Sarah McCluskey, from Bath.
She was flogging the backsides of a pair of sharp-suited ‘bankers’ - Stephen Jon, from Nottingham, and Antoinette Burchill, from Derby.
The trio go by the name as The Delegates and were in town on ‘Bankers Active Community Service’ - civic punishment for those behind the economic collapse.
Pin-striped Antoinette, explained: “We got caught swindling the city and basically robbing the public. Rather than our champagne and cocaine lifestyle, we are learning to iron and sweep up - doing the menial jobs we used to get little people to do.”
The trio explained the act was devised last autumn as former Barclays boss Bob Diamond was being quIzzed by MPs.
Said Antoinette: “It stemmed from the massive feelings of annoyance and anger people felt at how the bankers have got away with it.”
Creating a literal stir with youngsters was smoothy company Bloomberry all the way from Devon.
It deployed two bikes where pedal power allowed them to liquidize their drinks.
Owner Sarah Jones lived in Burton-in-Kendal for 25 years but moved south three years ago.
She and daughters Chris and Louise were kept busy.
Mrs Jones said: “We’ve done Mintfest for three years now and it’s so nice to see people enjoying themselves.”
Jayne Smith with Evie, two, from Burneside, said: “I really like Mintfest, and it is excellent for the town. I think the best part about it is its randomness and the variety of events you can see.”
John Leigh and Sue Preston-Jones from Kendal’s Castle Estate, said: “We come every year. It’s brilliant – so entertaining. The best thing we’ve seen so far is ‘Don’t Drink and Dance, which was stunning.”
For more pictures from this weekend's Mintfest, see this Thursday's Gazette