Blisworth Canal Festival 2015
Its the first weekend in August so it must be the Blisworth Canal Festival, an event which has entered its seventh year and this time it was bigger and better than ever before.
Blisworth Wharf on festival weekend
Last year the Saturday was good but the Sunday welcomed the entrails of a tropical storm which washed the event out completely. This year the weather was kinder to a fault, with the thermometer hovering in the high 20's and barely a breath of wind to rustle the Gazebo.
This represents a landmark event as it is the last time we will trade from the gazebo on land - next year we will trade from The Jam Butty - so its goodbye to our pitch behind the allotment society and goodbye to the lovely studio B&B near Roade.
Ice Cream and shade
We were invited to spend Friday night with Sandra and Barry (Homebrew Boat) so we rocked up in late afternoon and were just setting up the stall when Areandare slid through the bridge. The evening saw the sampling of wine and beer and the conclusion of a very satisfactory game of Six handed Rummy (a game of great skill which saw the girls roundly trounced and me stalking Barry only to steal the lead in the last round).
This event grows and grown and every year we seem to see the fields given over to car parks grow in number. With good weather forecast for the whole weekend the crowds turned out in force - an estimated 23,000 on day one only to be eclipsed on day two when the overall weekend total approached 60,000!
From a trading point of view Saturday is normally the busy day and Sunday being more relaxed, but in this case the Saturday was just too hot and the huge crowds milled around listlessly more interested on shade, water and ice cream than buying stuff from boats. Hey ho, Sunday was fresher and more inspirational for the buying public many of whom are repeat customers who beat a path to our stall each year for their jammy fix.
Heritage Boats at Blisworh
All in all this is an extraordinary event which just grows and grows, a village fete on steroids which in the realms of canal festivals is in some ways unique. We don't want to get locked into a fixed cycle of events, but come August 2016 we will be back.