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New pop-up summer festival opens at York Minster

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York Minster’s Heart of Yorkshire Festival opens this weekend with a range of nature inspired activities and workshops in Dean’s Park.

The popular park has been transformed over the last two weeks for the two-month long pop-up festival, which includes an international stone carving festival, open air cinema and a tipi bar.

Themed around sustainability, the environment and conservation, the events celebrate the completion of the 10-year, £11.5m project to restore the cathedral’s East End and Great East Window, and the ideas of life and restoration which sit at the heart of the Christian faith.

The festival kicks-off with a series of adult workshops from experts in urban beekeeping, flower arranging and horticulture.

Highlights include willow weaving workshops with willow sculptor and floristry designer Wendy Bristow of Twigs and Sprigs on Wednesday 11 July and Friday 20 July, where participants can create a large wreath or heart while learning about the ancient traditional craft.

York Minster’s Flower Arrangers will also be sharing their skills at two sessions on Thursday 12 July, where visitors can create a posy arrangement of seasonal flowers and foliage.

On Saturday 14 July and Friday 17 August, people can join horticulture expert Mike I’Anson, who recently retired from Helmsley Walled Garden, in conversation. The two sessions focus on different themes including creating a cut flower garden and extending the flowering season, and organic veg growing and managing pests.

At the end of the month, urban beekeeping expert and enthusiast Julia Smith will run an interactive talk giving participants the chance to brush up on their apiary awareness, get up close with honeycomb frames and try on a bee keeping suit. The talk takes place on Monday 23 July and is suitable for adults and children aged seven plus.

Alex O’Donnell, York Minster’s Learning Manager, said: “We’re really excited to have the Heart of Yorkshire Festival at York Minster for the very first time this summer.

“This weekend sees the start of a huge range of nature-inspired events, talks, workshops and performances with something to suit every age range and we can’t wait to welcome people over the next eight weeks.”

The adult activities will be followed throughout the school holidays by a range of family workshops and hands-on children’s craft activities. Highlights include ‘Trashbang!’, an interactive music workshop from Billy Hickling, previously performer and rehearsal director with international stage hit STOMP, and a song-writing workshop with award-winning songwriter and musician David Gibb.

The centrepiece of the two-month festival will be the international York Minster Stone Carving Festival – the first the cathedral has hosted since 2010 – which will run from the 17 to 19 August. More than 70 stonemasons and carvers from across the UK and Europe will showcase their skills during the three-day festival, which starts with the popular annual Stoneyard Open Day, followed by two days of carving in Dean’s Park.

Throughout the summer, pop-up tipi bar SÓL ÁST, from the team behind THOR’S tipi bar, will provide street food and drinks with a summery vibe, including their signature cocktail the ‘Minster Martini’. A large outdoor garden and terrace offers visitors the chance to enjoy one of the most magnificent settings in the country, with a drink in hand.

For full details of all events and activities and to book tickets, visit our What’s On pages.

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