The Yanks returned to Saddleworth

The Yanks returned to Saddleworth to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Wartime classic!

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This Summer’s Yanks weekend ensured fun for all the family. Very mixed weather failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of attendees who came to enjoy this ever popular weekend. Locals and visitors came together to enjoy the annual spectacle, taking place this year on the 9th, 10th and 11th of August with many choosing to dress up in traditional 1940s civilian and military wear once again.

This year celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1979 filming of the movie Yanks, which starred Hollywood stars Richard Gere, Vanessa Redgrave and Lisa Eichhorn. A number of the scenes were filmed in areas of the Saddleworth Valley including Dobcross and Uppermill and close towns including Stalybridge.

People flock to Saddleworth from far and wide with some coming from as far as Australia to enjoy the festivities. Speaking to a visitor from Nottingham “Yanks weekend is just the best and I look forward to it every year. It is a shame about the weather but is just great to see how so many different people from all different ages really make the effort.”

On its 17th outing of staging the event, Saddleworth once again transformed itself for the three day festivities with flags, bunting and even sandbags, decorating most businesses. There was once again something for everyone, with dancing, parade, re-enactments and sing-a-longs. Unfortunately a fly past by a vintage bomber had to be cancelled because of conditions…which was a shame.

“Unfortunately we are always at the mercy of weather, so had to make the difficult decision.” one organiser told us.

Sunday’s parade through the heart of Uppermill included Jeeps, tanks and cars, as well as a Sir Winston Churchill look-a-like who waved to the masses from an open top car. There was also a parade of Royal British Legion veterans, led by the Oldham Scottish Pipe Band.

Everyone enjoys recreating the 1940’s wartime atmosphere, with many visitors and locals dressing up as 1940s: soldiers, airmen, sailors, wrens and land army girls.

The weekend also hosted a1940’s style dancing to help everyone get everyone in the mood.  Music was provided by Max Debon and the Debonaires, as well as Paul ‘Peaky’ Shelby and Trina from the Backstep Boogie Club who were spinning the discs to get the crowds in the mood at Saddleworth School.

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Those that visited Dobcross will have been lucky enough to be entertained by the talented Bailey Dolls who performed not only at the Swan Inn but also at Dobcross Band Club. Those who are fans of the film, will be aware that Dobcross was a significant location in the film

As it was the 40th anniversary of the film’s release, many were crossing their fingers for a special appearance from the stars of the film but sadly this will have to wait for another time…although Lisa Eichhorn has enjoyed several trips to the location from her home in the States.

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This was certainly another successful Saddleworth event, which has left many counting down the days to next year’s festivities. Lets hope the weather makes an appearance to enhance everyone’s enjoyment.

 

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