If you're looking for somewhere vibrant, family-friendly and entertaining at the beginning of August, then you need look no further than the west coast of the Island, as the town of Peel prepares for its annual carnival and the Traditional Boat Weekend.
There's more of an international feel to this year's Peel Carnival, with the introduction of Viva Brasil, an exotic troupe of feather-clad, costumed, Brazilian samba dancers, who will be promoting the event and joining the popular afternoon parade.
Another coup for the festival will be the appearance of well known puppeteer and model maker Steve Allen, who will be fronting a number of workshops in schools situated in the west of the Island, in a bid to encourage youngsters in creation of models and props to be used in the Grand Parade. Recognised for his work on the film Labyrinth, Steve is best known for his creative characters on both TV and film, working with the Muppets creator Jim Henderson and EMI Studios, and recreating characters from Fraggle Rock, Thunderbirds, Star Wars and those latter day stars Wallace and Gromit.
These additional highlights will take place alongside all the usual favourites, such as fire-eating, juggling, acrobatic sideshows and the popular Manchester based Caribbean steel drum band Panfire. Also new this year will be an Hungarian dance group, which will join the spectacular Chinese Lion dancers and the local drum band SambaMann, who traditionally lead the parade from the House of Manannan.
But if you're looking for something a little more relaxing, then the twenty sixth annual Traditional Boat Weekend may be just the ticket.
With thirty five to forty boats expected to dock in Peel during the first weekend of August, the usual format will be adopted, including Parades of Sail (weather permitting) on both days during the weekend. It is hoped (although unconfirmed at this stage) that all four surviving Manx Nobbies, Gladys, White Heather, Aigh Vie and Vervine Blossom, may join together at the port for a regatta.
Organisers also welcome the return of local sponsor Bushy's Brewery to the event, which is viewed by entrants as 'the best in the Irish Sea', due to the town's charm and hospitality.
One of the highlights of the weekend is the Quick and Dirty Boat Building Competition, to be held on Saturday on the tongue in Peel. This is a challenging team exercise, with a view to building a boat using a limited supply of materials and equipment, after which they race across the mouth of the River Neb. Prize winners of both the best designed boat and the race itself will be invited to nominate a charity of their choice for their winnings.
The Sailors' Shelter (across from Fenella Bridge) will be selling complementary goods throughout the weekend.
Further details of both events available from their Facebook pages.
© August 2016
(Courtesy of Manx Tails)