2010 Angel Canal Festival @ Regent’s Canal

昨日、家のそばのRegent’s Canal(リージェンツ運河)を通りかかったら、毎年恒例のAngel Canal Festivalが行われていたので、ちょっと立ち寄ってみた。1980年代に始まったこのフェスティバルは、City Road Lock and BasinからPackington Parkの間のTowpath沿いに、慈善団体の資金集めのために食べ物や運河にちなんだ小物、工芸品、本などを売る約70の屋台が並び、Fun-fair(移動遊園地)、コンサート、Narrow Boat(ナロウボート、運河用の細長い荷役船)が体験できるボート・トリップ、そしてレガッタやボート・レースなど、一日中いろいろなイベントが開催される。

運営は主にボランティアでまかなわれ、入場料は無料。屋台からチラシまで、なんだか学園祭を思わせる手作り感満載で、よく言えばほのぼのしているというか、悪くいえば素人臭いというか。また来たくなるような魅力的なイベントとは言いがたいけれど、まあ皆頑張っているので、気持ちだけ、手作りマフィンとブラウニーを買ってフェスティバルを後にした。

屋台やイベントはともかく、イギリスの運河名物のナロウボートが結集するこのフェスティバル、興味のある人には面白いかも。£1のプチ・ボート・トリップでちょっとした運河体験をしたり、ボートを通すための閘門の開閉を見たり(写真下)、また現在は、住居や余暇の別荘、短・長期旅行用として使われていて、水洗トイレやシャワー、暖房、電化製品、衛星放送用アンテナ等も備えている、ナロウボートの中を見学できるのも、フェスティバルならでは。

Yesterday, we stopped at the annual Angel Canal Festival when we came back from lunch in Angel. This annual festival, started in 1980’s, is based around City Road Lock and Basin and along the tow path to Packington Park, and there are around 70 stalls selling from canalware and crafts, books, to refreshments, to raise funds for local and national charities. A variety of events are held all day such as fun-fair, music, boat trips and viewing of Community Boats, regatta and bell-boat race in the Basin.

The festival is run by volunteers, and an entrance is free. From the stalls to the posters and leaflets, everything about the festival was amateurish and handmade-ish, and it was like a typical community event or a high school festival. It was quite grungy in a way and it was not really attractive event that I want to come back every year, but I understand it is a non-profit local festival and the volunteers do their best. I just bought muffin and brownies, took a little stroll, and left the festival in 10 minutes.

The festival may be interesting for some, as Narrow Boats, one of the attractions in England’s canals, get together in one area. You can observe the narrow boats going through a lock gate (photo below), experience a mini boat trip with small money for £1, or observe inside of the boats that are now commonly used for holidays, weekend breaks or as permanent residences, equipped with modern convenience such as central heating, flush toilets, shower or bath, home electronics, satellite television and mobile broadband.

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