The Bonfire Night Celebration at Manor Fields Park started in 2010 when the park was beginning to mature as a well-loved and well-used landscape, almost ten years after it had been created. Bret Nuttall from The Green Estate Community Interest Company and Craig Judson from MASKK were two of the key instigators.
At the time, organising a series of regular seasonal public events at the park was part of creating its identity and welcoming people to explore what was now available for them to use on their doorstep. This was an important step in reclaiming the space for the community and helping people have confidence that the park was now an engaging and safe place for families to visit, enjoy and explore.
On Sunday, it was wonderful to see over 5000 people turn up for this year’s Bonfire Night Celebration and support the event in a friendly way. It was also great to see that all the hard work and support that had gone into raising £18,000 and planning the event in detail had paid off.
Gates opened at 5pm and things started with street dance performances from Pinder Dance Productions, followed by two fire dancers from Greentop Circus, all under the shadow of the giant wooden stag. Created by Handspring Design, the fire sculpture replacing the bonfire this year reminded us of the ancient deer park landscape that was once the Manor Park.
The fire dancers finished their set by lighting the fuses of the fire sculpture, causing ribbons of flames to snake their way in patterns up to the stag’s heart which then burst into flames, igniting the head and antlers. As the sculpture was consumed by the flames and the fire went down, the fireworks display started in the skies beyond and filled the air with bursts of light for over twenty minutes.
The event was over by 8pm, security teams and volunteers were all checked in, and we were packed away and offsite by 9:45pm. All the food vans and stallholders commented that it had been another good event this year, and we received lots of positive comments.
The 2023 event was the park’s eleventh Bonfire Night Celebration and only the second one after a two-year break during COVID times. It was also the only free community bonfire to go ahead in Sheffield this year, with many others having been cancelled due to the weather.
The event planning and coordination takes several months of meetings and hard work. The management of the event Health and Safety must be done extremely well, and this year we had the support and scrutiny of the Council’s Safety Advisory Group.
The Bonfire Night Celebration at Manor Fields Park has become a tradition for many, and even though it takes a lot of work to fundraise for the event and then plan/manage it every year, it does bring our staff and volunteers together with the Manor & Castle Development Trust team and MASKK in a real spirit of cooperation.
We know from the social media comments how gratefully received the Bonfire Night Celebration is and we hope that it’s something we can keep as a much-loved and free community event for many years to come.
– The Green Estate Parks Team
A big thank you to our local partners who donated funds towards this year’s Bonfire Night Celebration. The event wouldn’t have happened without these funds.