Water way to spend a bank holiday weekend

Fun time on water was the theme of this year s Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice and that is exactly what the boaters and public enjoyed

Barry Reynolds

Fun time on water was the theme of this year's Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice and that is exactly what the boaters and public enjoyed.

Over the three days of the bank holiday, boaters from around the country got together to take part in various events and colourful processions, all organised by volunteers from the Inland Waterways Association (IWA).

There were competitions for boat handling and the best illuminated boat, as well as a procession of historic boats dating from the 1930s.

IWA event organiser Libby Bradshaw said 150 boats had registered for the event, estimating that about 30,000 members of the public made their way along the towpaths to check out the boats and the extensive market.

"It's all gone very well. I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves," she said.

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"It has been a very busy weekend and the weather has been very kind to us."

Apart from all the various events centred on boats and boat handling and decoration, there were programmes for children, including a teddy bears' picnic on Saturday and two education narrowboats offering Wild over Waterways activities, sponsored by the IWA, British Waterways and the Waterways Trust.

On Sunday night, people packed the boats and the horse bridge over the Grand Union Canal on Blomfield Road to give an enthusiastic reception to the illuminated boats, which made their way around the pool, providing a colourful end to the day's boating.

Music ranged from jazz to folk and a steel band, but the highlight was the performance by the Rhythm and Blues Brothers, who played on Sunday night, bringing the night to a raucous end.

"I've never seen that much enthusiasm for a band," Ms Bradshaw said.

But while so many people crowded the towpaths over the bank holiday, Ms Bradshaw said the Little Venice cavalcade, which started in 1983, was particularly attractive to boaters because of all the events they can enter.

"There is something going on all the time. At Little Venice there is a lot of camaraderie," she said.

"It is a lovely atmosphere, being part of it."