13 Sep 2018
Aylesbury's first canal festival burst into life with an abundance of colour and entertainment on Saturday. Visitors flowed to the town centre's Waterside area to celebrate the past, present and future of this beautiful canalside public space as it starts a new chapter in its two hundred year history.
Situated in one of Aylesbury's most picturesque settings, surrounded by Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, University Campus Aylesbury Vale, Waitrose and Travelodge, the Waterside area provided the festival with a great backdrop to this eagerly anticipated community event.
Organised by Aylesbury Town Centre Partnership and working in partnership with local businesses, organisations and the councils, this new event was the result of months of hard work with the aim to introduce visitors to a little-known part of Aylesbury.
Lucy Dowson, Visit Buckinghamshire’s Tourism Development Manager, said, "Visit Buckinghamshire was very excited to be part of the inaugural Waterside Festival. The event was a great success with so much for the visitor to see and do. It was also a great opportunity to discover the Aylesbury Basin, a beautiful, undiscovered area that hopefully has now been put in the spotlight. A big thank you to Aylesbury Town Centre Partnership and local businesses who did an amazing job of bringing the community together for a fantastic day out. I do hope this event becomes an annual one."
Combining a winning formula of both water and land-based activities, festival goers were delighted with the vast choice of events and activities on offer, including free taster sessions for canoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing from the Canal & River Trust (in conjunction with Chiltern Canoe Club and Tring Anglers), as well as canal trips with The Little Trip Boat.
"The paddle boarding was AMAZING! We all really enjoyed it," said George, Charlie and Henry, students from Long Crendon School and Lord Williams’s School.
Elizabeth Haseler said, "I saw the event advertised on Facebook and was really keen for my kids to experience the fishing taster sessions."
For those who preferred to stay on land, an amazing selection of stalls were available to browse, including a continental market provided by Geraud market and a floating market courtesy of Roving Canal Traders Association, as well as historical heritage walks, theatre tours, BuDS chill-out zone and UCAV tours. Stage theatre performances from Russell Scott's Next Stage Choir, Alarum Theatre, Ubiquitous Theatre and Jacob Cole also enhanced this fabulous festival experience.
"It's been a fantastic day trading to the landlubbers who will now be spicing up their grub! I'd certainly be keen to come back should the festival return for 2019," said Bunny, owner of The Herb Boat.
To find out more about the Waterside Festival, visit www.watersidefestival.org