The last day of April proved a sunny start to the bank holiday weekend and the 34th annual Canalway Cavalcade. Local businesses trading at the event also saw a great success, Amber Edwards reports
The canal event, that ran this year from Sat April 30 – Mon May 2, is put on by The Inland Waterways Association – a charity that works on protecting Britain’s canals and rivers – and is run entirely by volunteers. The festival fills Browning’s Pool in Little Venice with colourful decorated boats to show off to visitors, starting with a parade of all the boats. For those water enthusiasts, there was also a boat handling competition, a kayaking session and a procession of illuminated boats on Sunday evening.
The weekend wasn’t just filled with boating events though, there were plenty of activities for the whole family. For the kids, there were Punch & Judy shows, arts and crafts stalls, mime artists, picnics and of course, bumper boats. Everyone else could enjoy the many food stalls that made walking by without indulging almost impossible, as well as live music and a variety of bars.
Canalway Cavalcade was also a great opportunity for small businesses, with so many stalls and markets scattered around and plenty of advertising opportunities. Visitor information volunteer Elizabeth Raynor said: “It’s a really good opportunity for these trades people, they meet a market that they otherwise wouldn’t.
“We try to be family orientated, a huge range of people come through here, it’s very popular with children because there are things to see and do, its very active.
“There’s quite a variety of stalls, we have lots of people that like to come every year. Sometimes there are more people wanting to come than we can manage. Getting your name down early seems to be quite a priority. It’s popular from the arts and crafts and food trades point of view.”
One company that experienced the benefits was Lunaskoom; a collective of creatives specialising in art, clothing and tattoo design. Owner Matt Mooks said: “As a trader, I try to bring to market what I have passions in, which encompasses the festival spirit.
“This was my first time here, the atmosphere was electric with traditional boat vibes. From Maypole dancers, circus, brass polishing, flowerpots, cream teas & bunting galore! You name it; it was there! I even found a bacon sandwich at 8:30am.
“As a trader, I have always enjoyed this kind of lifestyle as it brings a diverse range of people from all over the world. Having never been here before, the organiser’s were really helpful and made sure the event ran smoothly, the core part of a festival is the management.
“This is why I love festivals, for the coming and then departing of like-minded people, leaving family’s and all walks of life inspired into different ideas, trades, foods and of course (in this case) boats! The sun was shining and the people were great.
“Business here in London went really well, we would be more than happy to return next year!”
Events like the Canalway Cavalcade are vital for small businesses, they offer the companies such a good opportunity to gain a following and promote their trade, especially those lacking a static shop that do their business primarily online.