Monday, 6 September 2010

Shackerstone Festival

We allowed ourselves a day off from boat work to visit the nearby Shackerstone Festival by the side of the Ashby Canal. Main reason for going was to see the working boats - we'd watched a steady number of them come past Streethay en route to the event over the previous few days.
But we weren't prepared for the sheer scale of the whole Festival - to be honest it would put the IWA National Rally to shame to think that a village can organise something of this size every year.
Classic cars, classis bikes, traction engines, dog show, horse show, military vehicles, kids' motorbike display team and all the usual stalls too.
To top it off on the Saturday we watched a Mk IX Spitfire do aerobatics and on the Sunday the Red Arrows gave a display. Wow!
There was a pretty impressive collection of what a friend of ours likes to call 'crusty boats' too - 20 or more of them. They were great to see but, to be honest, I think some of them could have done more for the general public - after all they were there as part of the Show and not just as part of a rally to meet other old boaters, lock up and disappear to the beer tent. A few had informative signs out; some were happy to chat (I learnt more than I'll ever remember about steam power from the owner of Adamant) but I thought too many boats were either closed or empty. Maybe an hour twice a day when the owners were there to chat, run engines and generally do some mingling with punters would be good.
That little grouse aside, it was a great day. I spotted a rare Hesketh motorbike but my show favourite was the 1951 Nash Ambassador with Hydramatic transmission. Takes you right back to that great era of American cop shows, gangsters, dusty highways, Edward Hopper paintings and neon lit roadside diners.

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