PREPARATIONS are nearing the finishing line for this weekend's Fangfest, a festival of the practical arts held in the village of Fangfoss, ten miles to the east of York.

Taking place on Saturday and Sunday, this annual event showcases the best of crafts and arts throughout the region, while offering a variety of other attractions.

At the Rocking Horse Shop, there will be demonstrations of carving, dappling and saddlery by the experts, with visitors being invited to have a go themselves, complemented by activities geared towards children.

York Press:

The Rocking Horse Shop's new race horse, Hero

A much-awaited new design will come galloping out of the Rocking Horse Shop’s workshop: a race horse called Hero, with hooves pounding and nostrils flared.

Further down from the Rocking Horse Shop is the Rocking House Studio, where artists Shirley Davis Dew and her husband Anthony Dew work in different media.

Shirley will demonstrate the techniques she uses in her paintings and prints, along with a new development in her working practice, making hand-made and individually painted tote bags.

Anthony will exhibiting his modern works in his new "man cave", where he will be joined by toy maker Robert Race, who will show some of his creations made mainly from driftwood. In addition, stone carver Alan Micklethwaite, of Northern Sculpture, will show examples of his work and demonstrate his skills.

York Press:

Shirley's Cat, by Shirley Davis Dew

Smoke signals will appear over Fangfoss Pottery as Lyn and Gerry Grant's ever-popular raku firings take place. Lyn will demonstrate the ancient Japanese technique of firing a pot to 1,000C before taking it out and plunging it into cold water to achieve amazing finishes and colours. Inside the pottery, Gerry will be hosting throwing demonstrations and offering the chance to make your own pot or be creative by painting one.

The festival's guest ceramicist will be Northumbrian artist Veronica Ballan, who has been working with clay for more than 40 years, gaining a reputation for making “faceless” figurines.

Fun and frolics will abound elsewhere, promises Gerry. "Many other craftspeople and artists will be displaying and demonstrating their work throughout the village," he says.

York Press:

Rocking Man, by Anthony Dew

"From pole lathe turners and willow workers to corn dolly makers, jewellers and soap makers, there's certainly a lot to see. We'll have fairground rides for the little ones, face painting and archery and a superb display of classic cars and tractors. The flower festival at the church is on the theme of Birthstones and there's a competition at the school to make a miniature garden."

Visitors should look out for assorted Scary Scarecrows and vote for their favourite. "Sally Murray at the Carpenter’s Arms is organising a scarecrow competition, open to anyone in the village, with the results being announced on the Sunday evening," says Gerry.

"There’ll be food and refreshments at the pub available all day and live music on Saturday evening.There really is something to entertain everyone at Fangfest, from the interested artist to someone just wanting a family day out."

Entry is free throughout the festival.