GALLERY: Thousands turn out to enjoy the sights and sounds of Aquafest

Ely Aquafest extravaganza 2014. Picture: Steve Williams. Ely Aquafest extravaganza 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.

Monday, July 7, 2014
8:52 AM

Thousands of people made the most of the afternoon sunshine to enjoy Ely’s annual Aquafest extravaganza.

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Ely Aquafest extravaganza 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.Ely Aquafest extravaganza 2014. Picture: Steve Williams.

Despite a wet start, the weather soon picked up and the crowds came with it, flocking in to Jubilee Gardens and Lavender Green on Sunday to enjoy a multitude of fun and games.

As ever, the highlight of the event this year was the raft race along the River Great Ouse, with the usual array of weird and wonderful vessels taking to the water to compete.

Those taking part included Ely Gin Company, Energie Fitness, Shearline and Ely College.

As well as the racing, visitors were also given the chance to see and hold Cambridge United’s FA Trophy – which went on display at The Maltings.

Also new for this year’s Aquafest, was the Dogs Trust, which offered to microchip dogs free of charge.

The RAF was also in attendance this year with one of its military vehicles and weaponry as part of a unique display.

There was also plenty more for all the family, including dance displays from Funk it Up, games, stalls, craft stands and more.

The event is organised by both the Rotary Club of Ely and Ely Hereward Rotary Club.

In its early days, Aquafest was a raft race first and foremost, with only a few stalls on Lavender Green. It was started by Stan Baker, with a small committee, and the first event was staged on July 16, 1978.

The idea was conceived by Stan following a visit to the Rotary Club of Axminster, in Devon, who were discussing their raft and canoe racing on the River Ax

Nowadays, a large committee of Rotarians arrange the day, with different members completing different jobs, and they work on the project for 10 months of the year beforehand.

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