Festival of the Moon a huge success
Wakefield's Festival of the Moon has proved to be one of the city's most popular events ever, with over 31,000 visitors enjoying the moon-themed celebrations.
The festival has been a huge boost to the city centre with both shopping centres receiving higher than average visitor numbers, more people parking in the city centre and the event has also breathed new life into the former Market Hall space.
Cllr Jacquie Speight, Wakefield Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the success of the Festival of the Moon. It's brought a real buzz to the city centre and everyone has hugely enjoyed the activities and entertainment on offer.
"The transformation of the former Market Hall into a fantastic cultural hosting area has been incredible and this is just the start of a new era for this space."
During the festival, Trinity Walk has seen a 19% increase in people entering the centre compared to this time last year, as well as car park usage going up, while The Ridings has seen visitor numbers of double the national average for the month.
Cormac Hamilton, Trinity Walk's Centre Manager, said: "The Festival of the Moon has shown what can be achieved when people are creative, brave and work together.
"Wakefield Council has put on a quality event which has been well promoted and involved many partners - and we would love to see more events of this calibre to promote the city as a destination.
"Trinity Walk has already felt the benefit with more people visiting us year-on-year and more cars parking during the event period. This has a positive knock on benefit as we know most visitors go elsewhere in the city centre, too."
Lee Appleton, Centre Director at The Ridings, said: "We've had a really strong August at The Ridings with footfall up 6% year on year – double the national average for the month.
"The new Reel Cinema already is having an impact at the centre and so is the increased activity in Wakefield city centre, of which the Festival of the Moon was a big part."
The centre-piece of the festival was the Museum of the Moon, a giant, seven metre-wide, illuminated scale replica of the moon, courtesy of acclaimed artist, Luke Jerram.
Some of the other highlights from the two weeks included Star Wars Day, talks by Britain's first astronaut Helen Sharman, performances from The Cribs' Ross Jarman and Blur drummer Dave Rowntree, a Wellbeing Event and BBC's The Clangers.
The festival also enjoyed the work of 21 local artists who responded to the Museum of the Moon, with a mixture of drama, song, visual arts, community engagement activity and music, and has undoubtedly helped develop local talent for the future.
The Festival of the Moon was held between 23 August and 8 September and marked the 50th anniversary of NASA's successful 1969 mission into space.