A popular national canal festival is to be held in Chesterfield for this first time in over ten years.
Organised by the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), the National Trailboat Festival will take place at Staveley Town Basin during the 2016 spring bank holiday weekend.
Highlights of the event include an illuminated parade of boats on the Saturday night and a convoy right up to the River Rother at St Helena’s on the Monday.
Robin Stonebridge Chair of Chesterfield Canal Trust said:
“We are delighted that the IWA has chosen to return to the Chesterfield for its 2016 Trailboat Festival.
“The boaters who came here in 2002 or 2005 will see a great change, both on the canal and in the surrounding area.
“Canals get restored by continuously making the case, by hard graft and by spreading the word and building support from across the country. Although we still have eight miles to restore, the festival will be a good way to celebrate the trust’s efforts thus far and for visitors to have a really good time here in North East Derbyshire.”
As with the yearly canal festivals held at Staveley, this national event will also include boat rides, canoeing, children’s rides, plenty of entertainment, dozens of stalls plus food and drink including a real ale bar.
The vital difference with this festival however – say Canal Trust members – will be the number of boats. It is expected that dozens of trailboats will be moored in the basin and back towards Constitution Hill Bridge. Many will be decorated, creating a really colourful spectacle.
As trailboats are towed, it will also be possible to be launch them down the slipway at Staveley Basin – where they will enter the stretch of water between Staveley and Kiveton Park which is currently inaccessible to normal canal boats due to ongoing restoration work.
IWA national chairman Les Etheridge said: “Our 2016 Trailboat Festival will help to demonstrate the community benefits that flow from the revival of functioning waterways. As well as providing a great day out, we hope the festival will stimulate renewed support from the public and local interest groups for the Trust’s sterling restoration work.”
Derbyshire County Council owns this section of the canal. The Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure Councillor Dean Collins said: “The newly developed Staveley Basin has made Chesterfield Canal an attractive area for boats and we’re delighted to be hosting the National Trail Boat Festival in Derbyshire next year.
“We’re committed to helping to improve Derbyshire’s economy and tourism has a massive role to play.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming the boating community to Derbyshire to enjoy our beautiful county and all it has to offer.”
Chesterfield Canal Trust has previously run IWA Trailboat Festivals at Tapton Lock in 2002 and 2005. Both were hugely successful, as was the IWA Campaign Rally held at Kiveton Park in 2009.
For more information visit http://www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk/