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From pirates to seagulls at Water Fest

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There were rides on the river and burgers on the bank whilst listening to music traditional and modern. It felt like everyone was at Reading Water Fest on June 14 to help it celebrate its 25th anniversary as the crowds enjoyed a family day out at one of the town’s most iconic events.

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Forbury Gardens, Chestnut and Riverside Walks and the tow path leading to Blake’s Lock and the Bel and Dragon were packed with stalls containing everything from balloon sculptors, henna artists and exotic jewellery to free bike checks and artisan food.

Morris men danced beside the Forbury Lion and by the side of the Abbey ruins you could find a group of land locked pirates, the Greyhounds of St Edmund “we are a re-enactment group who recreate medieval battles, but today we’re pirates.”

Painted narrow boats were moored along the tow path and the best dressed boat won a prize, as did the fastest swimming duck in the ever popular duck race.

Forbury bandstand was transformed into an outdoor art gallery as artists exhibited photographs, paintings and sculpture. Some of the artists presenting also gave a series of demonstrations.

An escorted walk around the ruins was available although it was so popular many people will have to wait until September when the guided tours will take place again.

Sally Allen had a stall selling exotic jewellery from Vietnam, Thailand, India and Guatemala. “I’m an eye surgeon during the week,” she said, “when I go on trips I buy from local sellers and then come to places like this to sell them on. This funds my next trip.

“I was here last year but we were washed out by noon. This year is lovely with crowds of people.”

the boat with legs
The Boat With Legs
Pictures: Vivienne Johnson
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