Finding something to do on Bank Holiday weekends can end up as a battle of wills as each family member tries to convince the others that their choice is best.
But at this year’s Crick Boat Show, which takes place May 28-30 at Crick Marina, there’s a host of activities to suit the whole family and kids go free.
1. Enjoy a boat trip…visitors to Crick can take a free trip along the Grand Union Canal aboard trip boats provided by Union Canal Carriers, run by volunteers from the LNBP The half-hour trips run every 10 minutes from 10.10am each day of the show. Book your free trip at the Trip Boats Marquee on the Quayside soon after you arrive at the show to avoid disappointment.
2. Meet an 18th century canal engineer…as part of the Show’s celebration of 300 years since the birth of James Brindley, an actor impersonating the canal pioneer will be meeting show visitors across the weekend. One of history’s great engineers, Brindley was responsible for eight canals and presided over the birth of large-scale civil engineering in this country. His many achievements include the construction of the Barton Aqueduct, the first navigable Aqueduct to be built in England, and the Harecastle Tunnel, once said to be the longest man-made tunnel on Earth.
3. Have a go at Roses & Castles painting…visit the Canal & River Trust Marquee to try your hand at the iconic Roses and Castles canal boat painting. This mysterious and colourful canal folk art was used to decorate working narrowboats in the 19th century, covering virtually everything in or on the narrowboat. The Trust’s boating team will be asking Crick visitors to help them decorate a boat cabin recently constructed by young apprentices at their Stanley Ferry Workshop.
4. Soak up some live music…live bands will be performing throughout the Show in the Wheatsheaf Bar Marquee. Daytime performers include country rock from ‘The Locksmiths’, folk and country music from ‘Magic Car’ and ‘pop, punk, folk and funk’ from ‘Wholesome Fish’. Blondie Tribute act ‘Blondied’ heads up Saturday evening’s entertainment and Tom Robinson of ‘2-4-6-8 Motorway’ fame is on stage from 9.20pm on the Sunday.
5. Watch out for a Waterway Writer…on each day of the Show, a waterway writer will be reading extracts from their books and signing copies. On Saturday, Christine Richardson, author of James Brindley, Canal Pioneer will be speaking, on Sunday you can meet Helen Babbs, author of Adrift: A Secret Life of London’s Waterways, and on Monday, Berlie Doherty will be signing copies of Snowy, winner of the Children’s Book Award for the best picture book of the year.
6. Design your dream boat interior…with over 250 exhibitors, Crick is Britain’s biggest inland waterways festival, showcasing the very best of the canal world. So, whether you are a boat owner or just a dreamer, let your imagination roam free with boat builders to talk to, dozens of new boats to look round and all the latest products, gadgets and space saving solutions to admire.
7. Graze on gourmet food…the show’s Food & Craft Marquee will be home to a wide selection of gourmet food specialists, offering tasty samples and live demonstrations of culinary delights. Select your starters at Ash Greek Olives or Lymn Bank Farm Cheese, mains at Crepe Heaven or Your Paella and desserts from Georgie Porgies Puddings or The Chimney Cake Kitchen.
8. Take a ride on the funfair…children aged 16 and under can visit the show for free where they will find a variety of hands-on, exciting children’s activities, including a funfair with dodgems and carousel. Although many of the children’s activities will be free, there will be a charge for funfair rides.
9. Find out about living afloat…Crick hosts a seminar programme with topics for both novice and seasoned boaters, including advice about living on a boat from the Residential Boat Owners Association. Find out how much it costs to live afloat, where to moor and what type of boat is best. Other seminar topics include advice on refurbishing boats, boat maintenance and buying and selling a boat.
10. Learn how to steer a boat…visitors to the show can book a one-hour Boat Handling Taster Course, led by The Narrowboat Skills Centre, Willow Wren Training and Watercraft. The boat trainers will talk you through the basics of casting off, mooring up, boat etiquette, rope handling and lock navigation. Places cost £12 each and can booked in advance.
Crick Boat Show will be open from 10am till 6pm every day except Monday 30 May, when it closes at 5pm. Evening entertainment runs from 7.30pm to 11.30pm.
Ticket prices start at £12 per adult if booked in advance before 22 May, £15 on the day. All children aged 16 and under go free. For more information and to book tickets, visit www.crickboatshow.com or call 01283 742970.