Organisers hope for sunshine as Ely Aquafest 2016 fast approaches and more entrants are needed for the raft race

Flashback to a previous Aquafest

Flashback to a previous Aquafest - Credit: Archant

If you’re counting the weeks to Ely’s annual treat of Aquafest then there’s not too long to wait. The date is always first Sunday in July, and that’s the third this year.

Flashback to a previous Aquafest

Flashback to a previous Aquafest - Credit: Archant

The date is always first Sunday in July, and that’s the third this year.

This year Aquafest is dedicated to the Queen’s 90th birthday year, and a prize is being awarded to the best stall at show.

All the preparations are on schedule and coming along nicely, except for one thing: more entrants are needed for the fun and opportunity of competing in the raft race.

In years gone by we have had a raft made to represent an army tank, a London double-deck bus, a Triumph Spitfire, a Reliant Robin car, Thomas the “Sank” engine, a lorry cab, a pedal-powered sleek event winner pedalled by the four-man crew, a couple of weird creations with a mast and sort of sail, and ordinary rafts using pure paddle power.


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Many rafts have sunk but many have also become race winners as the most spectacular craft or fastest creation on the river.

There is a slight change to the programme this year, which departs from what has been arranged in previous years. However, the Scouts’ raft race is scheduled for 11.30am from Lavender Green, and the main raft race for 12.45pm.

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This means the opening by the deputy mayor will be in between the races, at noon, with the arena acts commencing at 2pm.

The Scouts’ prize-giving will now be at about 2.30pm on Lavender Green, following the Ely Rocking Ukuleles act, and the main raft prize-giving at about 4.15pm.

On Jubilee Gardens the Mayor’s opening will be at 12.35pm, followed immediately by the children’s land games, which have been organised by Tesco.

The competition winners will be announced on Jubilee Gardens at 5.15pm, with the final “goodbye” by Star Radio, following their broadcasting all day.

The two Ely Rotary Clubs are hoping the weather is good on July 3rd, to continue the record which has run now for the past 38 years.

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