W3’s little armada carries 1100 canal trippers

W3’s little armada carries 1100 canal trippers

(then band defies downpour with Singin’ in the Rain)

 W3, the Whaley Water Weekend, broke all records for this 11th annual event, carrying more than 1,100 passengers on its little ‘armada’ of canal boats. 

In keeping with W3’s policy, boat trips as well as most other attractions were free.

Organisers estimated the total attendance over the two days was nearly 2,000.

 ‘Water’ in the name of any event tempts providence.  After a sunny Saturday, 12 June, followed by a mostly dry Sunday, the heavens opened in the last hour of the community event. 

 As visitors scuttled for shelter – some to the Buxton Water tent, which distributed 1,600 free bottles over the weekend – Whaley Bridge brass band caught the mood of the crowd.  In the third of their spots on the stage, the band played a jaunty version of Singin’ in the Rain. 

 And Feet First, an Appalachian dance group, with super-fast hill billy violin music, encouraged stall holders taking down their tents  just before the heaviest downpour of the day. 

 The Whaley Water Weekend 2010 was being hailed as the best ever.  Not only were the trip boats,

W3 boats

including charity boat New Horizons, record breakers, but people were talking of the Saturday visit by two meerkats.

 Crowds flocked to visit their pen as the cute creatures from southern Africa did their ‘stand up’ act, looking around at different people with their stary eyes.  New High Peak MP Andrew Bingham and new High Peak mayor Graham Oakley called to see the stars of the petting zoo,

 Mr Bingham also posed at the controls of a giant steam engine, displayed by DSPC Restorations of Chapel en le Frith – the biggest single star of a busy weekend.

MP at controls

 Youngsters enjoyed England’s Saturday night World Cup game on a 12ft screen  – the biggest since cinema left Whaley Bridge in the 60s – with free food and soft drinks.

 Secretary Barry Rudd said:  “It was a pleasure to bring a real night out to the under 18s, but also to provide so much joy to families.  We’re already looking at plans for next year. I want to thank the volunteers who manned the boat trips, and the many young people who helped with the general stewarding.  Most of all, thanks to so many people for supporting a great weekend.”

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