My thoughts on the Slough Canal Festival 2018

This is our fourth year visiting the Slough Canal Festival in Langley’s Bloom Park, and there is comfort in the familiarity of it all. We met up with my sister as usual, and the kids ran straight to the birds of prey and then the farm animals, all in the usual place. The hay bales in the centre surrounding the events section. The marquee with stalls inside, the wooden garden ornament people, the fun fair, and ferret racers, the steam engines, the Scouts selling bric-a-brac, the crafts tent. Only thing missing was the slushie van, much to my sister’s horror. We had to go for ice cream instead.

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In the events section there was a birds of prey show involving the children, where the bird handler got the children to lie down on the grass while an owl flew over them. There was a BMX bike tricks show, and of course the free steam tractor trailer rides.

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Aside from the festival activities, my children ran to the new playground that has been built in Bloom Park. It’s little but brilliant. Anything that is new feels lovely anyway, but what is nice is that this equipment is actually toddler friendly – a slide with actual steps that a child can climb up without help! Cute bouncy cars, a see-saw and little swings. I wish they would update the current playgrounds near us, the equipment is filthy and battered in Central Slough. Lucky Langley kids is all I can say.

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Both my kids loved going on the super humongous bouncy castle that had a slide inside. I thought they would be fed up with bouncy castles after having two in the Nana’s garden over the summer hols, but I was wrong! Still crazy for it. It was £2.50 for 5 minutes, so it cost me a fiver for the two of them. Pricey but worth it for the happiness.

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Tyler found the ferret racing hilarious, the laughter coming from him made me laugh! I think Lily’s fave part was getting ice cream from the ice cream van, and they both liked the tractor trailer ride. But most of all they liked having the space to run around and climb on the hay bales to jump off them.

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We spent time in the craft tent, where we coloured rocks with special permanent ink pens. Tyler made a badge, and then a boat from cereal packets that he was really proud of. He was gushing and high fived the staff in the tent.

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Did I miss something? The canal perhaps? It’s funny, I read the Slough Express called it Slough’s ‘hidden secret’. Well it is hidden, there’s no doubt about that, as I’ve mentioned in my previous posts. This year there weren’t many boaters due to the water being low, and even the Canal and Riverside Trust boat didn’t come. This was a huge shame, and walking along the canal this year, there just wasn’t any atmosphere or anything to do. Or if there was, it wasn’t enticing enough for people to walk up to.

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There were canal boat trips, but where to buy the tickets was hidden too. Upon asking around we found it was a white unmarked tent – apparently the ‘Information Tent’ – and by the time we found it, the tickets for the boat rides had sold out. I do think they should have organised more boat rides to be available as this is a ‘canal’ festival. A bigger deal should be made of the canal. Where to buy tickets should be clearly signposted. I suppose what would be nice is to have the canal decorated with colourful bunting, and for there to be activities on boats, and music playing.

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Perhaps the festival should be called the ‘Slough Festival by the Canal’. Or the ‘Slough Canalside Festival’. Because the festival is ‘by’ the canal even if the canal is not so involved, and it was a great local event. The car parking was very organised with plenty of stewards to direct drivers. Everyone enjoyed the festival, there was so much to do and there was a real community feel to it. Just not so much on the actual canal.

Did you visit the Slough Canal Festival this weekend? What did you think?

Sabrina x

Read about the 2015 and 2017 festivals here.

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