Express & Star

In Pictures: Boats, entertainers and family fun as Festival of Water in Walsall is hailed a success

Illuminated narrowboats, music and family activities entertained visitors at the Inland Waterways Association's Festival of Water over the Bank Holiday weekend.

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The Festival of Water

Between 70 and 80 boats were moored on the Wyrley and Essington Canal at Pelsall North Common, off Norton Road in Walsall.

It was the first time since 2016 that the event had been held there.

The Festival of Water

Running from Saturday to Monday, attractions included historic vessels, entertainers, a music tent, a bar, crafts, boat and colouring competitions, learning how to throw a rope correctly, driving a digging machine, trade stands, Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and an open mic variety show.

There was also information about the association's Protect Our Waterways campaign, which aims to attract more investment in the canal network.

Spencer and Victoria Collins

The event, which has been running since 2014, sets up at different waterways up and down the country and visited Burton-on-Trent last year.

Jane Elwell, who is chair of the committee which runs the event, said: "We have between 70 and 80 boats here, all of whom have booked to come to the festival, including eight boat traders. There are also about 60 camping pitches.

"The boats and campers come from all over the country.

"People have been enjoying themselves. The children's play area has been very popular and we had an illuminated boat display on Sunday night which attracted a lot of people on site.

Pippa (seven) and Ivy (five) Collins from Cheslyn Hay with Peter Jones and Esther Jones (10) from Halesowen

"We've also had an entertainment marquee, music, craft stalls, caterers, there's a wide variety of things on offer.

"It has been a successful event. I think we would have gotten bigger crowds if the weather had stayed fine but that's always the problem."

Carol and Mark Tyrell from Coventry

The festival site was at Pelsall Junction where the waterway links to the Cannock Extension Canal, which was built to serve the Cannock Chase mining collieries.

The free, three-day event takes place every August Bank Holiday, and is organised and staffed entirely by volunteers.

Raymond Cross from Suffolk

It is an opportunity each year to remind the public of everything IWA does and everything that only IWA can do for the waterways.

Colin and Andrea Wood from North Yorkshire

IWA is the only national charity that campaigns locally and nationally for all the country’s canals and river navigations.

Julie Tonkin from Netherton, of Art by Julie

It provides leadership, resources and practical support for the waterway restoration sector.

Brookside Jazz and a young fan

The charity lobbies parliament, champion regeneration, run events, and fights to improve the waterways for all legitimate users.

For more information about the IWA visit