The Yanks returned to Saddleworth
By Elizabeth Coates
This Summer’s Yanks weekend ensured fun for all the family. With a reported 15,000 attendees enjoying the weekend. Locals and visitors came together to enjoy the annual spectacle, taking place this year on the 10th, 11th and 12th of August with many choosing to dress up in traditional 1940s civilian and military wear.
The yearly celebrations are dedicated to the 1979 filming of the movie Yanks, which starred Hollywood stars Richard Gere and Vanessa Redgrave. 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 Crewe “Yanks weekend is just the best, it is like Christmas for me, I look forward to it every year. It is just great how so many different people from all different ages really make the effort.”
Saddleworth transforms itself for the three day festivities with flags, bunting and even sandbags, decorating most businesses. There is something for everyone, with dancing, parade, re-enactments, sing-a-longs and the famous flyover. 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. Saddleworth School was a hub of activities, which saw a wide range of fabulous 1940’s entertainment; including: free dance lessons, a Wartime Cinema, a tea dance and a range of vintage stalls.
This year crowds got to enjoy the breathtaking sight and sound of a Lancaster flying overhead, bringing goosebumps and tears to many who witnessed it on the Saturday. Unfortunately, the traditional British weather forced the cancellation of another scheduled flyover on Sunday, August 12.
The rain on Sunday did not put off a number of dancers, who were seen to grace the dance floor with their umbrellas in hand.
Those that visited Dobcross will have been lucky enough to be entertained by the talented Bailey Dolls who performed not only the Swan 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.
Next year will be the 40th anniversary of the film’s release, which will see many crossing their fingers for a special appearance from the stars of the film: Richard Gere and Vanessa Redgrave.
Another successful Saddleworth event, which has left many counting down the days to next year’s festivities.