YORK is preparing to paint the city yellow after unveiling highlights of its own local festival to celebrate Le Grand Départ.

In the countdown to the Tour de France coming to the region, the city is to host York: Be Part Of It, which should see the streets festooned in flags and banners.

Residents are also being encouraged to let their hair down by organising their own street ‘départies’ in York.

City of York Council is teaming up with Visit York to stage what is billed as the world’s first festival of arts and culture in the build up to the big event.

Kate McMullen, head of Visit York, said: “Le Grand Départ of the Tour de France is not only a superb event for visitors to experience but it also shines the world’s spotlight on our city and region as a top-class venue for cycling. “Not only that, the Cultural Festival is already creating a huge sense of excitement around the event, offering both visitors and residents lots of new activities to join in and celebrate this prestigious occasion for York and Yorkshire.”

The events are being staged as part of the Yorkshire Festival 2014 and will have an unmistakable York flavour.

One of the events is a planting programme to make the whole city bask in a stunning display of yellow and gold.

Guidance will be available to local gardeners and starter seed packs are being given for local community groups and schools, and as reported, budding artists from York Learning adult education classes, schools and residential homes are also helping to create a 500-metre cycling-themed painting.

This aim is to create a spectacular image involving 500 individual works of arts that can be viewed from the sky.

Nunnington Hall will form the backdrop for a Tour de Cinema celebrating Yorkshire in film.

The 100-day extravaganza leading up to the July 6 will also feature community projects, performing arts, poetry, music, street theatre, festivals, and other events.

Go to www.york.gov.uk/tourdefrance for a full list of York events or www.yorkshirefestival.co.uk for full list of Yorkshire regional events.