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Angel Canal festival set to ride on Olympic wave

15:23 31 August 2012

Last year

Last year's Angel Canal Festival. Picture: Tony Gay

TONY GAY at tonephote@aol.com

This year’s Angel Canal Festival is set to close Islington’s Olympic celebrations in style this weekend.

The event on Sunday at City Road Basin, Islington – now in its 26th year – is set to be the biggest and best festival in its history after benefiting from a share of funding the council received from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to mark the London 2012 Games.

Boat rides, live music, have-a-go pottery, street theatre, musical entertainment, a children’s fun fair and an outdoor gallery are all part of the free community day celebrating the Regent’s Canal, as well as water events including a regatta, canoeing and a bell-boat race.

The festival, which takes place between 11am and 6pm, will be visually transformed by a series of performances and temporary public art – the culmination of an eight-week arts project entitled Making Waves, which involved young people from Islington Boat Club working with professional artists.

Over 90 stalls selling everything from crafts, books and clothes to food and drinks, will line the towpath all the way down to Packington Park and surrounding streets.

The Angel Canal Festival was started by the late Crystal Hale in 1987 after she successfully took on British Waterways to save the City Road Basin from being filled in and developed.

It is still organised by a team of volunteers led by Sasha Keir and Beryl Windsor, who was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list earlier this year for her services to the festival.

Ms Windsor said: “We hope that even more people will come to the festival this year.

‘‘It’s going to be bigger and better than ever with nine additional forms of entertainment on top of the traditional entertainment we usually provide, so there’s something extra for everybody.”

Islington Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Janet Burgess, said: “The Angel Canal Festival is always a highlight on the summer events calendar and this year it’s also an opportunity to celebrate all the fantastic cultural activities we’ve been lucky enough to have taking place right on our doorsteps in Islington.

“We decided that funding from the GLA would be better spent on community events rather than bunting, so we’ve been able to invest in festivals like this one to offer residents some really special events during the Olympic summer. These are events they can enjoy for free and remember for years to come.”

The Angel Canal Festival will be officially opened by Mayor of Islington, Cllr Jilani Chowdhury, who will arrive by boat from the London Canal Museum.

n For more information, visit www.angelcanalfestival.org

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