Text and photographs copyright of Jim Shead.
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Each year the Inland Waterways Association holds a number of events celebrating our waterways and promoting the work IWA does. All these festivals are open to the public and are aimed at anyone interested in our rivers and canals.
IWA held its first Festival in 1950 and has now been running them for many years. For more information see IWA History
The Waterways Festival
This is the premier festival organised by IWA and was previously called the IWA National Waterways Festival. it changes venue each year and attracts thousands of visitors, who come to see the boats, trade stands, displays, demonstrations, events and other entertainments that make it such a good day out. The festival is open for three days and is regularly attended by hundreds of boats and a similar number of campers and caravanner s.
The National Campaign Festival
This is a smaller locally organised festival designed to bring attention to restoration or other campaign issues on the waterway where the event is being held.
This is a London's own canal festival held in May each year at Little Venice, where the Paddington Branch meets the Regents Canal. Stands, moored boats and events on the water attract the crowds, including many overseas visitors, some getting their first taste of our unique waterways heritage.
The National Trailboat Festival
This is a locally organised festival focussing on a detached waterway (i.e. one not directly linked to the main waterway system) and attracts easily transported craft as well as local boaters.