The 2014 Banbury Canal Day was one of the busiest ever as thousands of
visitors crowded the towpaths and bridges as they explored the many attractions
and sampled waterway life.
Many people, young and old, entered into the spirit of the day by dressing as Cowboys or Indians – bringing to life the theme of this year’s event, the Wild West.
The attractions overflowed into Spiceball Park and nearby car parks as food markets, charity and craft stalls and other amusements added to the enjoyment of the day.
Tooley’s Boatyard showcased blacksmith demonstrations, engine displays, and boat chandlery – and a Banbury and Bicester College theatre group performed in the boatyard’s dry dock.
Dance displays in The Mill car park – and outside Sovereign Wharf in Compton Road – plus live music in the garden of General Foods Social Club provided family entertainment.
Taxi boats ferried visitors up and down the canal and many young people enjoyed canoe trips. Spiceball Park was the venue for horse and cart rides, falconry displays, and a variety of stalls.
Banbury Town Council, who organised the event, estimated that around 20,000 people attended throughout the day. It was the eleventh annual Canal Day – designed to remind residents that the canal brought wealth and prosperity to the town when it opened in 1778.
Town mayor Sean Woodcock arrived on a narrowboat to open the event, and spent the day touring the canalside. He said: “Once again Canal Day has been a tremendous success and everyone I have spoken to has said how much they are enjoying themselves. Narrowboats and the waterway itself capture the imaginations of people young and old and the whole event is a colourful and interesting reminder of the days when the canal was a major transport route, bringing coal and other goods from the Midlands.”