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News article created on 19 August 2015

Manchester's 'Little Italy' hosts bank holiday canal festival

The Rochdale and Ashton canals in East Manchester will be the scene of a free community canal festival. (Sunday 30 August, 12-4pm)

The ‘Waterside Summer Festival’ will be based around New Islington Marina. Organised by the Ancoats Canal Project and funded by the Canal & River Trust and Pride in East Manchester Clean City Project, the festival will feature a fantastic range of water-based and bankside activities for both adults and children.

Family-friendly attractions include canoeing, angler taster sessions and coaching, woodcraft, face painting and Ranger Rob and his interactive zoo of lizards, spiders and snakes. For adults, there will be guided photography walks, local history and nature trails, circular bike rides and a bike doctor.

A digital record

Wood-fired pizzas served from a narrowboat, coffee and cakes from a mobile bike service ‘Coffee Cranks’ and other refreshments will be available. And the whole event, in an area historically known as ‘Little Italy’, will be documented by young film-makers who are creating a digital record of the local community, its history and aspirations.

Jon Stopp, organiser of the Ashton Canal Project and a partner on the Canal & River Trust’s Manchester & Pennine Waterway Partnership, said: “Around 20 colourful narrowboats are now permanently moored in New Islington Marina which makes the perfect backdrop for a canal festival.

“The Rochdale and Ashton Canals join near New Islington and by incorporating both canals into the event, we have a fascinating heritage setting which has changed dramatically from Victorian industrial mills to a modern, attractive waterside residential area bursting with life again.

“The canals provide a brilliant, traffic-free route around the city. The Ashton Canal towpath has just been upgraded and we hope the festival will tempt people to come and explore the city’s wonderful waterways, as well as having a great time.”

Also available for visitors on Sunday 30th August will the Northern Art ‘Carbooty’ event nearby in Victoria Square.

For Waterside Summer Festival walk times and more information, check out the Ancoats Canal Project website, www.ancoatscanal.wordpress.com or email ancoatscanal@gmail.com.