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The Maidstone River Festival is back this July

By Alan Smith

The River Festival is back.

The festival, first established in 1980, has been rather a shallow reflection of itself in recent years, after Maidstone council withdraw support.

It was reduced to a mere "boat gathering" with cruiser owners meeting up to swop stories on the quayside, but little in the way of entertainment for the public, other than admiring the boats.

The Milton Precast team had clearly been bust preparing their raft entry
The Milton Precast team had clearly been bust preparing their raft entry

But all that has changed, a new re-invigorated committee is restoring the traditional festival activities - including a raft race, dressed boats, an illuminated boat parade at dusk and an evening firework display, thanks to sponsorship from housing developer Weston Homes.

In addition, there will be competitions and games for children - including a fancy dress parade on the theme of 'Pirates, Mermaids and Under the Sea,' and a teddy bear treasure hunt. In fact, the organisers are encouraging everyone - whether they arrive by land or sea - to dress up and get involved with the festivity.

Former mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Dave Naghi said: "It's going to be great. The River Festival has always been one of the town's best loved events - and it is only right that we make the most of our central position on the river.

"This will be good for the river users, fun for our visitors and good business for our local economy."

Former Mayor Dave Naghi
Former Mayor Dave Naghi

The festival will be on Saturday, July 27, with the fun starting at noon, the raft race at 2pm and the firework display at 10.30pm.

Applications from firms or clubs wishing to take part in the raft race are already being considered. The race will be limited to 10 competitors, so act swiftly.

Entrants can sign up via the festival website

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