A canal festival in Liverpool this weekend will be one of the biggest and most important in the country.
The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has designated the Eldonian Village Canal Festival on Saturday June 11(12-6pm) and Sunday June 12 (12 -5pm)as its 2016 National Campaign Festival, in a move that will bring more historic and modern canal boats than ever to the western end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
The IWA’s Chester and Merseyside Branch is co-hosting the event with Culture Liverpool, the Eldonian Housing Trust and Canal & River Trust.
The festival will feature live performances, activities for children, free canoeing sessions, free boat trips, historic boats, craft stalls, food and drink and the opportunity to meet Shreck the boat horse.
Peter Bolt, chairman of IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch, said the campaign aims of the festival were to encourage visitors to make the journey down the Leeds & Liverpool, visiting Litherland and Eldonian on the way. More work needs to be done to improve this stretch of the canal and the festival organisers hope to stimulate investment into the area, he added.
Tony McGann OBE, Community Leader and Chair of the Eldonian Canal Festival Committee, said: “The Eldonians are delighted that IWA has made this their National Campaign Festival for 2016. The event will be a very special occasion for local schools and the community as they work alongside IWA Chester & Merseyside on special projects discovering and investigating the canal and its contribution to their great city.”
IWA, which is the country’s largest waterways membership organisation, also hopes to encourage visiting boats to continue into the city along the Liverpool Link, a new length of canal opened in 2009 to allow access to Salthouse Dock right in the city centre, where boats can moor close to the iconic Three Graces on the waterfront.
Liverpool’s waterfront recently won a national competition by the Royal Town Planning Institute to find the “greatest places” in England, gaining the votes of more than 11,000 people.
Mr Bolt said: “With Liverpool having topped the “Great Places” list for 2015, our National Campaign Festival for 2016 will showcase the city’s amazing canal in its 200th anniversary year and introduce many visitors to a fascinating aspect of the city.”
Councillor Wendy Simon, Assistant Mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, said: “This festival will focus attention on the canal in a year when it is celebrating its bicentenary and will showcase its potential as a great leisure asset for the city.”
More information about the Canal & River Trust is available at https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/