Ironbridge Gorge to mark anniversary

River Festival to celebrate 30 years of World Heritage Site.

Telford & Wrekin Council, with support from Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, is to stage a free World Heritage River Festival on Saturday, 17th September 2016 – celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Gorge becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Discover Telford event promises to be an unforgettable and spectacular day out and will feature entertainment and activities spread across the Gorge.

It is one of three major events taking place in Telford and Wrekin that are part of the Festival Telford programme, which has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England.

The Festival will culminate with a magical river procession finale featuring illuminated boats, music, performers and pyrotechnics – put on by outdoor arts experts Walk The Plank.

Most of the activity during the day of the Festival will take place at Dale End Park and will feature arts and crafts, music, dance and street theatre, heritage crafts, walks and talks, fun fair, markets, food and drink and more. The Wharfage will be closed for carriage rides, a steam engine, street entertainment and live music, food and entertainment put on by the Wharfage businesses.

Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has offered all visitors free entrance into the Museum of The Gorge and the Ironbridge Tollhouse on the day of the Festival. The Museum will also be hosting heritage talks and walking trails in the Gorge.

Councillor Shaun Davies, Telford & Wrekin Council leader and cabinet member for Tourism, said: “This promises to be a fantastic day of entertainment to celebrate something that is very special to all of us in Telford and Wrekin.

“The Ironbridge Gorge is spectacularly beautiful and it is a matter of pride for everyone who lives in Telford that it has been a World Heritage Site for three decades. It is entirely appropriate that we celebrate that and the World Heritage River Festival is the ideal event. The magical flotilla that brings a climax to the day will illuminate the River Severn and provide a fantastic spectacle and lasting memory for onlookers”.

Anna Brennand, Chief Executive of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, added: “The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust is delighted to be a part of this great event and we are all looking forward to welcoming both local residents and tourists to enjoy this great spectacle.”

The Festival will last from 2-9pm and the river procession starts at 7.30pm. Visitors are advised to use the park and ride facilities at either end of the Gorge. More information about the River Festival can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Outdoor arts experts Walk The Plank have an impressive portfolio of operating flame and pyrotechnic shows on water including the Mersey River Festival, Henley River Festival, Greenwich and Docklands Festival, the Manchester Ship Canal Centenary and Sound to Sea Commonwealth Games.