Shrewsbury springs into festival fun

Shrewsbury has ramped up its vibrant offer this spring with a host of festival activity to fill warm weekends and bank holiday breaks. Whether it’s fantastic flash mobs and brilliant buskers or awesome authors and cartoonists, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Here are some highlights of what’s in store.

Music maestro please

The streets will be alive with music when more than 100 acts appear in The Big Busk on Saturday 1st April, performing throughout the town centre during the day and in venues during the evening. Donations made at the free performances will go to Shrewsbury Ark, a centre for homeless and vulnerable people. Don’t be shy and join in the Big Sing in The Square at 1pm.

Cartoons draw attention

Shrewsbury has been called the unofficial capital of the UK cartoon industry and Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival throughout April will showcase this claim to fame. With exhibitions of cartoon art, a cartoon trail around the town and a day of cartooning activity there’s plenty to see. Check out Cartoonists Live on Saturday 22nd April in The Square with around 40 professional cartoonists from around the UK and overseas let loose to caricature and cartoon for the public.

Have the rhyme of your life

Children’s literature festival Shrewsbury Bookfest (28th April to 7th May) has a variety of attractions for young visitors. They include learning from Horrible Histories’ illustrator Martin Brown, hearing from broadcaster Clare Balding who will be introducing her first children’s book and taking part in an Aardman model making workshop. The free Bookfest in The Square on Saturday 29th April will feature nursery rhymes and dance and the Bookfest Book Swap tent.

There’s more big time fun for families at Shropshire Kids Festival in The Quarry on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th May. Dancing, martial arts, theatre performances, a water slide and a foam party are part of the packed programme. Bugglepuffs author CL Bennett will seek help to set a world record for the longest chain of paper hearts.

Row, row, row your boat

Head for the river to enjoy Pengwern Boat Club’s annual Shrewsbury Regatta on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th May. Racing starts at 8.30am on both days on the River Severn. While the competitive crews battle it out for glory, you can relax as a spectator and cheer them on.

Where town meets country

Celebrate the cream of the county’s agricultural offerings at Shropshire County Agricultural Show on Saturday 27th May. The event at the Greenhous West Mid Showground in Shrewsbury is one of the oldest surviving agricultural shows in the country. It’s a chance to sample great local produce, support local businesses and enjoy music and arena displays.

Let’s rock 80s style

Saturday 27th May also sees retro festival Let’s Rock Shrewsbury burst onto the stage at Quarry Park with a fantastic 80s line-up of stars. Billy Ocean, ABC, Tony Hadley and T’Pau will headline the huge open air gig. Other artists performing at the hit-filled day include Heaven 17, Nik Kershaw, The Real Thing, Altered Images and Jaki Graham.

Ride On

To round off an exciting weekend, join thousands of spectators at the Cycle Grand Prix on Sunday 28th May when top-class cyclists race around a closed road circuit in Shrewsbury’s historic town centre. The action starts at 11am with a ‘family hour’, when anyone can ride the circuit, before racing starts at noon and culminates with the elite men’s pro race at 5pm. Grab your spot along the route or watch the races unfold on a giant screen on the High Street.

Seb Slater, Executive Director of Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID), said: “With so many quality and diverse events to complement Shrewsbury’s appeal as a destination town, we are certainly kicking off the tourist season in style.  Businesses are ready to give a warm welcome to visitors from this region, the UK and overseas to show Shrewsbury at its best.”

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