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Visitors pack the towpath for glorious return of Brownhills Canal Festival

Visitors have been treated to great weather, floating traders and historical boats at this year's Brownhills Canal Festival.

Brownhills Canal Festival
Brownhills Canal Festival

The festival has returned this weekend for its second year under the stewardship of Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, after the trust took over from Birmingham Canals Navigation Society last year.

Organisers have been delighted with the weather, turnout and all the traders who helped make it happen.

Some 15 boats are in attendance, including eight floating traders and seven historic boats.

All sizes of passenger welcome

Among the traders on Saturday were The Bird Box and Jenny Wren, who sell fair trade clothing and accessories along with handcrafted vegan soap.

Organiser Christine Howles, said: "It has been fantastic, we have had loads of people come down.

"We are delighted with the turnout and have had people come all the way from Manchester amongst the locals.

"We have had 15 boats, a mixture of traders and historic boats and 26 stalls including a shire horse, dressed in all the old gear, which the public loved.

Christine Howles and Alfie Lee part of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust

Part of the attraction of holding the festival in Brownhills for the trust is to shine a light on the area as it doesn't get much use due to restoration works needed to reconnect it.

"One of the reasons we do it is Brownhills Canal doesn't get much boat traffic because it doesn’t go anywhere," Christine added.

"But once we have restored Lichfield Canal, it will connect to more areas and see more use.

"What we have found is because you don’t get many boats come through, the people here have been so excited to see them.

"The boaters found people were running down their garden to welcome them as they came to the event."

Pictured, Peter Buck

Admission is completely free of charge for the weekend, which means accurate numbers for how many attended are unavailable.

One person who enjoyed the Saturday was Wendy Morton, MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, who said: "I’ve had a great time meeting up with friends and local residents and visiting the stalls."

Christine added: "We had a café boat this year which was new and went down really well.

"Some local firms came too which were great, Wand'ring Bark and The Jam Butty to name one, a couple that sell their homemade jam from their boats.

"And I must mention the Brownhills Christmas Tree Appeal who brought their tombola.

"We will definitely be doing it again next year, this year has been great.

"I would like to say thank you to all the boaters who came and to all the store holders who made it a wonderful event."

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