THE bunting is up and excitement is mounting as Knutsford Royal May Day Festival 2022 is just days away.

The much-loved event returns on Saturday, May 7, after being cancelled for the past two years, due to Covid-19.

Thousands are expected to line the town’s quaint streets to watch this unique pageant, the only one of its kind in the country.

More than 600 children dress up in colourful costumes to bring books, historical events and fairytales to life.

Knutsford Guardian: The colourful pageant takes to the streets again on Saturday, May 7The colourful pageant takes to the streets again on Saturday, May 7

The procession and crowning of the May Queen was started in 1864 by the vicar of Knutsford, Rev Robert Clowes.

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The royal prefix was bestowed on the event in 1887 by King Edward VII Queen Alexandra, when they visited Lord Egerton at Tatton as Prince and Princess of Wales.

Eileen Podmore, secretary of Knutsford Royal May Day Festival, said: “There is an air of excitement.

“When I gave out the costumes, the little ones were jumping around. It was lovely to see them.

“They absolutely love it.”

Older teenagers, who missed out as the event hasn’t been held since 2029 due to the pandemic, are still taking part.

“We’ve never had 15-year-olds before,” said Eileen. “We’ve had to purchase some new costumes.

Knutsford Guardian: Generations of Knutsford families have taken part in the colourful pageantGenerations of Knutsford families have taken part in the colourful pageant

“Our seamstresses have managed to alter some of the clothes.”

A bucket collection plays a vital role in ensuring the survival of the festival which costs around £35,000.

Traffic management alone comes to more than £9,000.

“We have invested in card readers this year as we realise people don’t have cash,” said Eileen.

“We desperately need support to keep May Day going. We’re not asking for a big amount. If everyone can contribute a bit, it will be a great help.”

Organising the giant procession is a monumental challenge.

“It should run like clockwork,” said mum-of-two Eileen who has been involved with the festival for 45 years.

“The procession has to start on time at 2pm, otherwise there would be problems with traffic management. It is run with military precision.

“It is not a carnival, it is a big celebration that is very community based.

“My mother used to make costumes for me.

“It is emotional to Knutsford people as their families have been taking part for generations.

“I look for all the smiling faces. That makes it all worthwhile.”

The May Day Festival is appealing for volunteers for next year, perhaps groups of friends who may wish to work together.

Anyone interested can email Eileen at