09:39AM, Saturday 14 May 2022
Maidenhead’s next Waterways Fun Day is set for September with familiar and new activities that will be free for all to enjoy.
The first ever Waterways Fun Day took place last year, marking the opening up of the restored waterway channel, making a continuous 1.1km-long route from Town Moor to the weir at Green Lane.
Hundreds of residents and paddlers attended the event to celebrate the opening of the final part of the York Stream arm of the waterway.
Around 55 canoes and paddle boards emerged to music through the arches by Coppa Club.
This year, because of the progress made at the Waterside Quarter (Chapel Arches), the second ever Waterways Fun Day promises to be bigger and better.
There is about 50 yards of waterway available that can hopefully be used for a kayak and canoe race, now the course is long enough and deep enough.
The idea is that the first under the arch wins the race.
“It’s long enough that you can get up some speed without disappearing over the horizon,” said Waterways Fun Day organiser Andrew Ingram.
“That area of the town is really coming together. When we did the fun day last year, the arch had only just come through and the route came out to a load of scaffolding.
“Now that’s all coming down and that allows us to do something better.”
The plan – still in its early stages – is to have zones for different activities, one for the more high-octane racing and another ‘gentler’ zone for more relaxed fun and games on the water.
The thinking at the moment is to have that gentle zone in the basin area
outside the Coppa Club.
Here, all the family can take part activities like last year’s popular flamingo toss, in which people attempted to throw balls inside a travelling floating inflatable flamingo.
“We want to do more things like that – fun for all the family, that appeals to everyone,” said Andrew.
The organisers have had their first planning meeting where a number of ideas have been bounced around, to be whittled down in due course.
It will also need to negotiate the necessary road closures well in advance of its Fun Day date.
So far, other possible additions include a return of food stalls, community stalls by organisations like the Heritage Centre, fire service and Scouts, and music in the amphitheatre.
There may be magic acts like last year and the organisers are hoping for a circus skills entertainment act as well.
The 2022 Waterways Fun Day is set for Saturday, September 17, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge and with support from the Royal Borough.
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