Angel Canal Festival was a huge success

Children got to meet Gizmo the veiled chameleon at the Angel Canal Festival

Children got to meet Gizmo the veiled chameleon at the Angel Canal Festival - Credit: Dieter Perry

The day got off to an exciting start when Islington’s deputy mayor, Kat Fletcher, took an impromptu role in the boat race.

Beryl Windsor, who has been involved with organising the event for 17 years, said: “She did a very nice welcome speech and went to watch the boat races and she ended up getting in one of the boats and competing. She clamoured in, in her lovely red lace dress and mayoral necklace, it was brilliant.”

This year was the 29th festival held to celebrate the canal. Ms Windsor estimated that 6000 turned out over the course of the day to join in the fun. There were plenty of activities for children on join in with including badge making, plate painting and the opportunity to meet and hold animals including hedgehogs, guinea pigs and a snake.

A variety of foods were available for visitors.

“We had Brazilian, Caribbean, Portuguese, Chinese and Venezuelan food, as well as hog roast,” Ms Windsor said. “There was so much that one man came up to me and said ‘I heard you have had a food festival today’, he didn’t realise it was for the canal.”

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Additionally, attendees were treated to live music acts, including a ukulele band and a sing along band, which was a hit with the children.

Ms Windsor said: “The music was fantastic. We had Tragic Roundabout who come all the way from Brighton every year. They play Ska music and they had such a crowd. We also had the Amberleigh African Drum and Dance group who were spectacular.”

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A special visitor was in attendance on the day. Gunnersaurus, Arsenal’s dinosaur mascot handed out prizes for the raffle including a signed Arsenal football and £100.

“He was inundated, especially with little boys, who wanted to touch him and shake his hand,” Ms Windsor said.

“It’s difficult to pick just one highlight,” she added.

The Angel Canal Festival was started in 1987 to celebrate the return of the narrow boat ‘Angel’ from a week-long charitable trip which took inner city children to the country side and gave them boat rides.

The organising committee are running an information evening on Thursdays at 7:30pm at St Pancras Cruising Club for anyone who would like to learn more about the event.

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