Three-day canal festival offers fun for all the family
A popular three-day festival that celebrates life around a Shropshire waterway is expanding to offer a host of new activities this weekend.
The Norbury Canal Festival, which runs from Saturday April 30 to Monday May 2, will take place along both sides of the canal at Norbury Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal between Newport and Stafford for the first time.
Hundreds of people attend the annual event that is organised by the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust, in conjunction with the Norbury Junction Inn and Norbury villagers.
Funds raised will go to the Trust’s £1.5 million appeal to convert historic warehouses at Wappenshall Junction, near Preston-upon-the-Weald-Moors, into a visitor centre and community hub.
New for this year will be an Austin 7 Car Club Rally on Monday, when visitors will have a chance to take a close look at the vintage vehicles.
Boat traders, including the very popular Cheese Boat, will be selling their wares on the water and will be joined by a gathering of narrow boats. Visitors will be able to look inside some of the narrow boats to see what life is like on board.
The Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust will be operating boat trips along the canal to give people the experience of seeing it from the water.
As well as traditional craft and food stalls and refreshments in the garden of the Norbury Junction Inn, there will be more stalls and activities spread along the canalside, around Norbury Wharf and in the Canal & River Trust yard. The Trust will be opening the wharf to display some of its specialised equipment, artefacts and canal memorabilia.
Norbury Junction Inn will be providing a barbecue all day and will be holding a beer festival in the main marquee.
Children’s activities including a bouncy castle, face painting and funfair rides and they will be able to take part in interactive games about canals at the Wild Over Water tent.
Live bands will perform in the main marquee with Vavoom headlining on Saturday with Bon Accord as support and Sunday evening’s line up includes local musician Mitchell Jinks and singer Beckii Pritchard. Advance tickets are available from the Junction Inn at £5 per night or £8 for both. Tickets will also be available on the door at £7.50.
The traditional canalside church service will be held in the main marquee at 3pm on Sunday.
Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust chairman, Bernie Jones, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to lay on more activities and stalls than ever before by expanding onto both sides of the canal for the first time.
“It is always a really great weekend of entertainment for the whole family and the chance to find out more about life on and around the canal.”
Parking, at £2 per vehicle, will be available opposite the Junction Inn with a new direct pedestrian access from the car park to the festival towpath. For up to date information, visit www.sncanal.org.uk or www.norburyjunction.com