Erewash canal to host national festival over Bank Holiday

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One of the biggest Bank Holiday events ever seen in Erewash will chug into view later this month with the prestigious IWA Festival of Water.

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) chose Ilkeston as the host for the colourful spectacle, expected to attract thousands of people from all over the country.

The free event will be held throughout the holiday weekend, August 26-28, on the stretch of canal alongside the Gallows Inn on Nottingham Road and off the water on the adjacent playing fields.

Erewash Borough Councillor Mike Wallis said: “We have worked closely with IWA and invested in and supported this free event to enable this national festival to be brought to our wonderful borough.

“It will be a milestone event, full of colour and fun, and a celebration of the beauty and rich history of the Erewash Canal.”

The Inland Waterways Association is a national charity working to protect and restore the country’s 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.

Its annual gathering moves around the country, bringing flotillas of up to 130 leisure, trade, heritage and working narrowboats.

IWA spokesman John Butler said “I am delighted that we are able to bring our festival to Ilkeston.

“The Erewash Canal is a beautiful yet underused waterway and the event will attract more people to visit it.”

Visitors can look forward to a packed three-day programme of entertainment with a wide range of attractions both on and off the water, making it a fun day out for all the family.

For the more adventurous, there will be opportunity to try water-zorbing, where you can skim across the surface of the canal in giant inflatable plastic balls.

To enjoy the water at a more relaxed pace, take a gentle trip on one of the boats.

The playing fields site will include a display of classic cars, craft stalls, birds of prey, wildlife exhibits, and children’s rides.

The entertainments marquee will hosts jazz, folk, pop and rock acts as well as local dance troupes, all of which can be soaked up along with a pint from the real ale bar.

Highlights include the gypsy jazz ensemble Bon Accord and the close, classic harmonies of the Bonito Sisters.

Anyone interested in the heritage and engineering of Britain’s waterways will enjoy talks by exerts Peter Buck and Graham Fiser, stands from waterway charities and traders and demonstrations by Shreck the draught horse.

The Erewash Canal was completed in 1777 and has a fascinating story.

It was a hugely successful commercial venture thanks to the export of coal from the Shipley and Eastwood collieries, and thrived for far longer than many of its contemporaries in the face of competition from the railways.

For more information about the festival programme, go online to