Alvechurch Beer and Boat festival
This was phase two of the Worcester Birmingham and Droitwich Canal Societie's marathon bicentenary celebration of the Canal's completion.
Trading at what is essentially a beer festival is breaking new ground for us. Sure there were several boats in attendance, most of which were known to us, but by far the bulk of the customers were there for the beer and were not looking for preserves.
Traders in full swing
But we were not there alone. We were a select little bunch of traders including Sue and Aide on The Cheese Boat, Sandra and Barry on The Homebrew Boat / Funtastic Facepainting, Wicked Wood and ourselves.
Saturday was a slow start but come the afternoon the sun shone, the crowds flocked in and the real ale bar sold 50% more beer than last year. The crowds thronged the site and the patch of grass in front of the boats was smothered in people soaking up sun and beer in equal measure. Suddenly sales took off and we did a whole day's trade in four hours.
As a surprise bonus, BBC radio Hereford and Worcester were there with and OB unit and Helen was duly interviewed and Sticky Toffee Pudding jam sampled live on air.
The word on the street was that the Beer Festival, itself over 10 years old and run by The Weighbridge Pub, was significantly enhanced by the boating dimension with a huge selection of bands performing from noon till 11.00pm. For my part the act of the show came on Friday evening in the shape of The Reflections - a cover band who poured energy and enthusiasm into an electrifying set.
The alternative Morris Men
All in all it was a very enjoyable show which offered an opportunity to sample a wide range of excellent ales from a menu of over 60, plus the ciders and perrys. Perhaps the hidden stars were the ABC team who toiled in the background to run an busy boatyard around the festival, turning round the hire fleet in the mornings before the crowds arrived.
Sadly work impinged again and the boats were handed over to our relief crew for their run back to the new moorings in Aldridge.