Record breaking family festival at Northamptonshire canalside village

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured is action from the Viking Water Pageant PNL-150614-212507009
Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured is action from the Viking Water Pageant PNL-150614-212507009
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Vikings, facepainting, morris dancing, live music and more drew the crowds along to Stoke Bruerne on Sunday.

Despite a very soggy start to the weekend, the 10th Stoke Bruerne Family Festival broke all records when the sun finally came out and some village car parks reported being full by lunchtime. Extra children’s facepainters were even called in to cope with high demand for butterflies, spotty dogs and tigers!

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured are siblings Max (2) and Sienna (5) Phillips PNL-150614-213336009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured are siblings Max (2) and Sienna (5) Phillips PNL-150614-213336009

Highlight of the festival was a Viking longboat with a dragon’s head billowing coloured smoke arriving in the village along the Grand Union Canal.

Watched by the assembled crowds, the longboat landed a Viking horde on the towpath outside the Canal Museum intent on pillaging. The invaders ordered the lowering of the Union Jack flag, replacing it with their own ‘hrafnsmerki’ or Norse Raven banner.

Rampaging Vikings aside, visitors to the festival were able to enjoy a huge range of attractions including a wealth of live music, theatre, morris dancing, a real ale bar, boat trips, a bustling trade market, lots of exhibitors with everything from live parrots to trans-Atlantic rowing boats and much more.

There were also lots of opportunities to have a go – from making wood whistles, tying rope dragonflies, building canal bridges, creating rag rugs and canal crochet to picking up a paintbrush and doing a bit of ‘Roses & Castles’ traditional canal decoration.

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - picture dare members of the Northampton and District Model Boat Club - l-r are Andy Harmer, Chris Larsen, David Gildon, Betty Harmer and Tony Phillips (front) PNL-150614-213315009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - picture dare members of the Northampton and District Model Boat Club - l-r are Andy Harmer, Chris Larsen, David Gildon, Betty Harmer and Tony Phillips (front) PNL-150614-213315009

The festival was organised by the Friends of the Canal Museum, a registered charity dedicated to supporting the Canal Museum through volunteer effort and fundraising.

The next event on the horizon organised by the same group is Village at War, a 1940s re-enactment weekend, being held in Stoke Bruerne on Saturday and Sunday September 12 and 13.

Stoke Bruerne canal festival PNL-150614-213218009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival PNL-150614-213218009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - picture dare Gail Levers and Cynthia Clements with the Candy Boat PNL-150614-213138009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - picture dare Gail Levers and Cynthia Clements with the Candy Boat PNL-150614-213138009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured are New Moon Morris PNL-150614-213024009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured are New Moon Morris PNL-150614-213024009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured is folk musician Phil Underwood PNL-150614-212755009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured is folk musician Phil Underwood PNL-150614-212755009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured is action from the Viking Water Pageant PNL-150614-212218009

Stoke Bruerne canal festival - pictured is action from the Viking Water Pageant PNL-150614-212218009