Final arrangements in place for Maesbury Canal Festival

6/7 September 2014

The final arrangements are being put in place for the Maesbury Canal Festival on Saturday and Sunday 6/7 September 2014. The Festival opens at 10am on both days, and closes at 5pm on the Saturday and 4pm the next day.

The weekend event will be opened by local councillor Arthur Walpole and his wife Mary at 11am on Saturday 6 September. The opening will be introduced by the Boreatton Drum Corps from the local scout troop and Richard Parry, Chief Executive of the Canal & River Trust will also be present.

There will be a selection of pleasure, trading and historic boats crowding the canal at Maesbury, some having taken over two weeks to come to the festival. The competition for the best presented boat will be judged by the local Waterway Manager for the Canal & River Trust, Ian Easby.

On both days there will be stalls, demonstrations, sideshows and rides, food and live entertainment, with a variety of crafts, some from a gipsy caravan. There will be lots for children to do: with an activity passport for just £1 they will be able to have a go at making a fog-horn, weaving, blacksmithing, peg-looming, building a model bridge, decorating a cup cake in a traditional style, and creating a paper ‘lace’ plate – the real ones were a typical feature of the boatman's cabin.

Throughout Saturday there will be music from from local ensemble Percussion Unlimited and The Boreatton Drum Corps. Saturday evening sees a special evening of Supper and Songs, with entertainment from local singer Libby Gliksman. Tickets are still available, at £12.50 from Canal Central, Maesbury, and Oswestry Ticket Office at Rowanthorn, Old Chapel Court, Oswestry.

On the Sunday The Street Band from Oswestry will play music from the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa, and there will be a fun dog show and the All England Inland Waterways Gurning Competition.

Speaking for the organising committee chairman Judith Richards said, “It takes us a year to prepare for our festival. Everyone has told us how much they have enjoyed previous festivals, so last September we started to make the arrangements for this year.

“Our festivals celebrate the Montgomery Canal. The canal was abandoned as a branch of the national canal system in the 1930s, and the project to reopen it has involved many volunteers as well as contributions from local councils and even Europe, with the latest section only being reopened in July. The Montgomery Canal is part of the network of canals through Shropshire and the borders which bring many visitors to our area; one day it will be open through Llanymynech and boats will be able to reach Welshpool again.

“We think this year's festival is going to be the best yet. There will be a colourful display of boats including historic boats which worked on the canals and Saturn a beautifully restored horse-drawn built specially for the Shropshire Union Canal system.

“We shall have many attractions for visitors, with sideshows, stalls, and entertainers. On Saturday the Exotic Zoo will give an opportunity to see amazing and interesting animals including skunks, meerkats, barn owls, snakes, lizards, and the next day the Paper Wizard will be walking round the site making and giving out balloon animals and doing a magic show.

“In addition younger visitors will be able to take part in our WoW activities throughout the weekend – WoW stands for 'Wild over Waterways' and most of the things children can do will have some connection with the canals and their story. Llanymynech Folk Group will be helping the WoW activities by helping children make flutes and whistles.

“A special feature of the festival will be a trip along the newly restored stretch of canal by the horse-drawn boat Countess. The canals and their towpaths were built for boats like this, but there are not many places today where you can take a ride on a boat pulled by a horse, and none where the canal has only been open a couple of months!

“We could not have organised the event without generous support from so many people, including Canal Central where we hold the festival, Shropshire Council's St Oswald & Llanymynech Local Joint Committee, the Canal & River Trust, local scouts, and many others.”

“To raise funds for the canal we shall be running a raffle over the weekend with a good selection of prizes. There will be prizes too for the All England Inland Waterways Gurning Competition on the Sunday, with £20 for the child who pulls the worst possible face through a horse-collar, and £40 for the adult who can pull the worst grown-up face.”

Raffle prizes include:

a meal for two donated by The Original Ball, Maesbury

garden secateurs donated by J C Dyke, Oswestry

a clock donated by Newgate Clocks, Oswestry

a traditionally painted canal water jug  donated by the British Ironworks Company, Oswestry

a bottle of wine and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil donated by Momentum Wines, Oswestry

As usual there will not be any charge to enter.

The Maesbury Canal Festival is organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and the Shrewsbury, District & North Wales branch of the Inland Waterways Association.

More information at

For bookings and more information about the event contact:

David Aylwin Telephone 01691 830403

Peter Richards Telephone 01691 831455

Angela Hankey Telephone 01691 662216