Video: A weekend of fun on Leeds waterways

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Four miles of waterways throughout the city centre will come alive this weekend with a festival which is also celebrating its tenth anniversary.

The Leeds Waterfront Festival is marking the occasion by making this year’s event the best yet.

25 June 2016.......         Leeds Dock Dragon Boat Race as part of the Leeds Waterfront Festival . Picture Tony Johnson.

25 June 2016....... Leeds Dock Dragon Boat Race as part of the Leeds Waterfront Festival . Picture Tony Johnson.

Over two days the four mile stretch of the Leeds Liverpool canal will be a hive of family fun, activities, fabulous food and live entertainment.

The events, staged via Canal Connections, are also a chance to showcase the heritage, community spirit and diversity of the area by exploring the water, the wildlife, the towpath, the greenspace and potential that has developed the Leeds Waterfront into a destination in its own right.

Preparations for the festival have been on-going for months and this last week volunteers from the community and nearby businesses, such as Sky, have been out and about painting lock gates, litter picking and clearing vegetation.

The main sites are Leeds Dock, Granary and Brewery Wharfs and Armley Mills, with events also at Armouries Way, The Tetley, Calls Landing, Brasserie Blanc, Castleton Mill and Oddy Locks.

Volunteers from Sky Tony Singh and Adam Ashley paint lock gates as part of the Big Leeds Waterfront Clean Up, ahead of next weekend's Leeds Waterfront Festival.
16th June 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Volunteers from Sky Tony Singh and Adam Ashley paint lock gates as part of the Big Leeds Waterfront Clean Up, ahead of next weekend's Leeds Waterfront Festival. 16th June 2017. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Some of the planned activities taking place over the Saturday and Sunday include boat trips along the river, junk boat building, sessions on canoes, kayaks and paddle boards, paper boat workshops, water taxis, story telling with the Royal Armouries, a street food festival, a vintage and designer market at Calls Landing and a visit to the festival for the first time from the Humber Keel Comrade.

Another crowd favourite is set to be the dragon boat races, a world record attempt for the largest paper boat race, intimate music gigs on barges and a graffiti session with artist HyroGraff at the Wellington Road Bridge, which is aimed at moving young people away from anti-social graffiti to more creative pieces of work.

The festival is organised as a not-for-profit event and is fully dependent on donations and sponsorship to enable it to continue and a hugely successful crowd-funding appeal earlier this year raised £15,000 towards staging the event which is free for visitors - over 30,000 attended in 2016.

A spokesperson said: “2017 is such a special year for us and we are more passionate than ever about providing the opportunity for people to come along and explore the Leeds Waterfront for the first time or to come back and support the local community and businesses to showcase all that is wonderful about the waterway for another fantastic weekend.”

Events start from 10am on Saturday, June 24.

2016: Reveller Alex Goodwin dancing at the annual Unity Day in Hyde Park. PIC: Tony Johnson

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