Festival Success

HDC Chairman Rosita Page awards the prizes

HDC Chairman Rosita Page awards the prizes for the children’s photo compaction to a representative from Foxton Primary School, Mrs Stout.

Foxton Inclined Plane Trust is very pleased with the success of its first big festival since the 1980’s. Designed primarily to promote the site, it went very well. Despite appallingly wet and cold weather on the Saturday, we still got over 1,000 visitors and with a big improvement on Sunday over 3,500 people visited the site. We were very impressed with the help received from BW staff, and from local people especially the local farmer. Everyone involved in setting up and running the event were very generous with their time and ‘in kind’ support. Our sponsors and advertisers were very generous, especially Foxton Locks Inn and British Waterways.
Entry to the event was free, but we were selling programs to offset the cost. Sadly, a large number of the visitors could not be persuaded to pay just £2.00 for the program, and some complained that they had to pay £1.50 for parking, which was not going to the festival, so at future events we may have to make a charge to get in.
Boats at the Festival

Boats at the Festival

Visitors enjoyed themselves with all of the entertainment, the historic boats attracted a lot of attention, and the steam rollers and classic cars were also a big draw. With over 130 stalls to choose from there was a wide variety of goods for sale, model boats, pets, including a herd of alpaca and a snake, were on view.
Museum entry was free to those who purchased a program, so this was also very busy. Outside the museum, various musicians joined in busking to the crowds who were watching the boats negotiate the locks.
On the Saturday, members of the Leicestershire and Rutland 4×4 response team helped our members put out a large quantity of straw to cover the mud produced by the thunderstorms. Rosita Page HDC Chairman, opened the event and presented prizes to the children of Foxton Primary School who had entered a competition for pictures of Foxton Locks. The large marquees were full of visitors, so those stallholders and the model boat club had plenty of visitors. The model boat club was particularly impressive with very large models of things like the Titanic, but we were all more impressed by a small motor gunboat with Ashby Canal Home Guard painted on the side! The evening entertainment was great fun in the marquee, but it wasn’t exactly the hot summer evening we had planned for and we had to resort to illuminating the stage with a car parked in the entrance with its headlights on!
The Scouts marshalling the car parks came into their own on the Sunday, when Saturday’s numbers were exceeded by 11am, and the overflow car park was filling up by lunchtime. Our volunteers were kept busy answering questions and sorting things out but visitors were very pleased and impressed with the event. Welland Valley Traction Club ran tractor trailer rides to transport people from the bottom lock to the top, or just for a ride on a tractor. The trailer was loaned by Lubenham Scarecrow event which is held on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September from 11am.
We don’t yet know how well we did with the finances. We planned to do better than break even and we think we have done that but it will be a week or two before we know the final details.
The event was run by our volunteers with some support from British Waterways staff, nine months of planning, followed by 2 very intensive days of setting up, 2 days for the event and then a mad day taking it down and picking the litter up. For some of our volunteers this meant camping on site for four days and working at least 12 hours a day with hardly any breaks. Essex Waterway Recovery Group helped and a couple of the local scouts were excellent. This may become an annual event. A couple of weeks rest and we will have forgotten the hardships and started plotting for next time!

Tony Faithful Wright

Tony Faithful Wright event organiser


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About this Sponsor

Foxton Inclined Plane Trust, runs Foxton Canal Museum. We are a voluntary run organisation promoting the Victorian Boat Lift and Leicestershire's canals.