West Tanfield’s Tour de France preparations

Tour de Tanfield T Shirt
Tour de Tanfield T Shirt

As far as Tour de France party preparations go, not many can rival the massive plans in motion at the small village of West Tanfield.

On Saturday, July 5 the Grand Depart of the Tour will speed through the tiny village and, in honour of this, the community has decided to host a spectacular celebratory festival.

Preparations for the party have been more than a year in the making with all parts of the community pulling together to organise decorations and festivities.

In addition to the three live days of entertainment from July 4-6, a giant screen to watch the Tour unfold will be available as well as a funfair, craft stalls and a range of food and drink.

David Powell and his team have been busy pulling the strings in preparation for the event and can’t wait to showcase the delights of their beautiful village.

He said: “We’re hoping that our event will highlight our support of the Tour de France and the wonderful atmosphere and community spirit we have here in West Tanfield.

“The town has really united over this festival and hopefully it will all be worth it when we see the thousands of people lining the streets and fields enjoying their weekend.

“We thought that anyone coming from the North wouldn’t be able to get into Harrogate to watch the Tour so we wanted to offer an alternative where they can still see the race ride through.”

Village tour co-ordinator Stephen Bennett echoed David’s views about moving away from a conventional village celebration and is excited by the chance to show just how much West Tanfield has to offer. He said: “Not only is the village very beautiful and a superb location from which to view the race, it is easily accessible from the A1(M) even when the Tour route is closed.

“Very few villages have this advantage and we decided to go for it. People who are worried about getting to see the race should head for West Tanfield.”

The cycling bug has already hit the village after last week’s Tour de Tanfield where 67 local families turned up to take in the sights on a marshalled tour. With parking facilities for up to 10,000 cars and 500 camping pitches, the village is expecting a huge influx of visitors and volunteers have been working hard preparing for their arrival.

Mr Powell is hoping visitors will leave the festival with a view of visiting the area in the future, especially after they witness the Hot Air Balloon Festival on Friday, July 4.

The star of the balloon festival will be the balloon from the Disney film UP! and local business will also be getting into the party spirits by extending their opening hours.

David said: “The Tour has been great for our village, everyone is very excited and it’s going to be a great party.

“All the funds that we receive from the festival will be put back into the community through local projects meaning a full and lasting Tour legacy.”