Slideshow: Harrogate International Festivals 50th anniversary

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More than 300 people attended Harrogate International Festivals’ 50th anniversary ball at the Royal Hall.

The spectacular night included a show-stopping heliosphere with an acrobatic dancer performing over diners, and an exclusive performance from the Gypsy Queens, whose high profile fans include Prince Harry and David Beckham.

NADV 1609244AM9 Harrogate Festivals 50th. Gill Lorgan, Lesley Coulthard, Peter Coulthard and Debbie Parsons.(1609244AM9)

NADV 1609244AM9 Harrogate Festivals 50th. Gill Lorgan, Lesley Coulthard, Peter Coulthard and Debbie Parsons.(1609244AM9)

The charity fundraiser was part of the festival’s ambitious Future 50 campaign to raise £1m to safeguard its future.

Guests included Future 50 vice presidents, author Val McDermid and Peter McCormick OBE, who co-hosted a glittery auction on the night.

Other Future 50 vice presidents in attendance were the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s title sponsor, Simon Theakston, Sir Gary Verity, Harrogate Advertiser editor Jean MacQuarrie, literary agent Jane Gregory and Dr Terry Bramall CBE and Liz Bramall.

The Royal Hall featured twenty-five 12-foot trees to mark the support of Bettys and Taylors who, along with Harrogate Borough Council, will plant 50 trees to create a festival forest in honour of the organisation’s half century.

NADV 1609244AM17 Harrogate Festivals 50th. Jo Sharp, Sir. Gary Verity, Jane Gregory, Simon Theakston and Val McDermid. (1609244AM17)

NADV 1609244AM17 Harrogate Festivals 50th. Jo Sharp, Sir. Gary Verity, Jane Gregory, Simon Theakston and Val McDermid. (1609244AM17)

Sharon Canavar, CEO of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “It was a simply remarkable evening, not just as a celebration of the festival but in helping us on our £1m fundraising campaign to safeguard the next 50 years of Harrogate International Festivals.

“I’d like to give a big thanks to Harrogate International Centre who helped make it all happen at the Royal Hall, and caterers Kudos who delivered a fantastic menu.

“I am humbled by the generosity of so many local businesses who donated prizes for our auction. It shows how valued the festivals are to the town.”

Donated auction prizes included being name-checked in the next Val McDermid novel, luxury holidays, a tour of the House of Commons with MP Andrew Jones, and dinner for six at Norse. Karen Weaver, Chief Executive of HARCVS, tweeted: “Congrats to all at Harrogate Festivals, great charity enhancing community life in our area.”

NADV 1609244AM7 Harrogate Festivals 50th. Susan Rumfitt, David Elstop and Beth Elstop.(1609244AM7)

NADV 1609244AM7 Harrogate Festivals 50th. Susan Rumfitt, David Elstop and Beth Elstop.(1609244AM7)

Fiona Movley, Chairman of Harrogate International Festivals, said: “We’d like to thank everyone for their generosity and support. Only two per cent of our income is from public funds. The festival has huge impact on the community we live and work in, and ultimately its economy, driving cultural tourism. It’s clear that Harrogate values the arts and knows our lives would be that much poorer without them. I’d like to thank everyone who attended and gave so generously.”

The Festivals deliver an annual economic impact of £8.2m in the region. This year also featured the spectacular Fire Garden in Valley Gardens. The next event is the Harrogate History Festival on October 20-23 at the Swan Hotel, featuring Paddy Ashdown and Jonathan Dimbleby.

To donate to the Future 50 Appeal, contact Sharon Canavar at the festival office on 01423 562303.