There’s a history of having fun at annual canal gala weekend

Stoke Bruerne Canal Festival.Keith and Jo Lodge on board Hadar in traditional canal clothing.'090614M-A333
Stoke Bruerne Canal Festival.Keith and Jo Lodge on board Hadar in traditional canal clothing.'090614M-A333
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MORE than 30 working or historic boats, as well as 50 or so modern craft, are expected to converge on Stoke Bruerne for the Canal Museum’s sixth annual Gala this weekend.

Tonight there’s a get-together for boaters and lovers of traditional music with a jam session, and the gala proper begins tomorrow, Saturday, morning.

The Canal Museum will be host to a number of stalls, including the ever-popular Towcester Ladies Market with their home-made produce, the Cheese Boat selling a variety of mouth-watering cheeses, the ever popular Fudge Boat and other sales boats moored on the canal. Meanwhile, on land there will be a canal antiques stall, tombola, children’s face painting and many other stalls.

There will also be craft demonstrations, including roses and castles painting and the traditional clothing and dress of the canals.

Tomorrow there will be a display of artefacts and memorabilia from the Stratford-on-Avon and Midland Junction Railway, which once had a station at Stoke Bruerne.

On both days there will be demonstrations of model boats and working boat handling skills on the water, and a chance to board a trip boat to the tunnel and back.

The Pitsford Home Guard will be parading in preparation for their appearance at Stoke Bruerne’s Village-at-War event in October and buskers will be performing on the waterside.

Tomorrow evening will see a free performance of two one-woman plays by Kate Saffin of the Roundham Lock Theatre Company.

Early on Sunday morning the Sunbeam Vintage Motor Cycle Club will rally with pre-1931 motorbikes at the museum car park before setting off on the 17th Rose Of The Shires run touring the Northants countryside and returning to Stoke Bruerne in the afternoon.

An extra feature this year will be the arrival by canal boat of a consignment of beer for the two pubs in the village, sent direct from Marstons brewery, Burton-on-Trent. This will be delivered on Saturday morning, ready for the weekend.

The colourful annual event is put on by the Friends of the Canal Museum, assisted by other bodies, villagers and traders. It goes to support the work of the museum and other village organisations, such as the church.

For a full programme of events, visit