.................This year's brass plaque
29th/30th Serptember 2012. Parkhead Canal Festival. With over 86 boats entered. Steve Bingham on the left and Dave Wheeler on right celebrating with a well earned pint.
During the last 12 months Dudley Canal Trust / Worcester/Birmingham & Droitwich Canal Societies have been getting their heads together around the committee table to organise the 6th Parkhead Canal Festival led by their Chairman Steve Bingham.
This year the dates were set for the weekend of 28th/29th30th September 2012.
This show should have been our 7th event, but due to problems with the Chasewater Reservoir and the lack of water around the B.C.N, we unfortuantly had to cancel the 2010 event before it even started.
Over the four years the Reservoir has now been repaired and is now full of water due to the very wet summer we have suffered. With that in mind we decided we could push on and organise the 2012 event.
Leading up to the event we suffered a very wet week which made the ground very soggy indeed. Infact we had too much water about but we all pushed on regardlessly. As luck would have it we had a beautiful dry sunny day on the Saturday which helped dry the ground out a bit.
86 boats in total entered along with 50 vintage and classic vehicles. With such a large entry you couldn't help but get the atmosphere of the sights and sounds of the Black Country at work. Russell Cook bought along the "Admiral Beatty" Showmans Traction Engine which was in steam all weekend along with the steam Narrowboat "President".
'Polly' the horse was also working all weekend pulling a 70ft joey boat up and down the locks at Parkhead demonstrating the art of horseboating, which was all that was available 150 years ago, before the invention of the diesel engine. The boat in question ( G.W.R. 65 ) is owned and just been restored by Bernard Hales.
We had around 25 trade and craft stalls sited around the ground plus a table top sale. Public were entertained by the sounds of fairground organs playing around the site, with a nice display of miniture traction engines, plus a static display from the local Black Country Live Steamers, along with displays from Commercial vehicles and some tractors. Sandwell and Stourbridge Model Boats club turned up with a nice display of working minature boats who were giving us displays of boat handling on the canal.
On the Sunday the weather was not that good but a lot better that they had forcast, with heavy rain showers and wind to come in around lunch time, as it turned out it was a dull day with a few light rain showers during the afternoon.
The Dog Show was set on the top field and with over 90 dogs entered. they were all judged accordingly. Later on in the afternoon the Mayor of Dudley came along to start the 'Great Dudley Duck Race'. Well over 800 ducks were dropped into the canal between locks one and two, with a steady flow of water, the ducks floated very slowly towards the finish line where the Mayor declaired the winner. Everybody seemed to have a good time dispite the dodgy weather!!