Warmer and dryer weather approaches for Aquafest

Warmer and dryer weather approaches for Aquafest

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This weekend should see warmer and dryer weather for one of Ely’s Big Days Out, “Aquafest 2017”.

While participants of the water-based fun day won’t mind the wet weather, for the thousands of onlookers that flock to the banks of the Great Ouse will welcome the warmer temperatures for what promises to be the biggest Aquafest in recent years.
The races start at 11.30 with the Scouts Raft Race from Lavender Garden to the Cutter and back with adults races from 12.45. This year a demonstration from Hannam’s Wake Hub will take place at 2.30 and should prove to be a spectacular display of wakeboarding skills from all ages.
As well as the water-based activities, land activities will be based at both Lavender Green and Jubilee Gardens including #BusinessBuzz participants Atrium Fitness. Music from Michael Antony, Jacen Bruce and Rocking Ukuleles plus the traditional re-enactment. All of which cumulates at 4.45 with the raffle draw and closing/prize ceremony at 5pm.
John Riley of the Ely Rotary and organises of the annual event said, “This year we have a fun packed programme for young and old aimed at thanking the residents of Ely and surrounding villages who help so much by coming along to Aquafest, and supporting all that Rotary does  throughout the year.
“It is important for everyone to remember Aquafest is not a money making exercise for Rotary. The Rotary Club of Ely puts any surplus into the following year to make it an even better show.
“We are grateful that our sponsors give so generously’ Without their financial support it would be so much harder to put on a good show. Your support for Aquafest is vital to make it a vibrant and exciting show Ely has come to expect.  So many charity stalls, commercial pitches, the beer tent and food outlets with a good mix of new organisations complementing our regulars.
“There is a non-stop programme in the entertainment area on Lavender Green as well as on the river.
“Should you wish to know more about the Rotary Club of Ely and possibly joining our happy band, please speak with any member who will gladly answer your questions.  Some of our projects include eliminating polio worldwide (you’ll see purple crocus planted by Rotary around the City supporting this), Aquafest of course, Christmas Street Collection, Big Band Shows, Kids Out, raising money for victims of the Manchester bombing, sending help to the Cumbrian floods, emergency boxes to disaster areas and providing help to local worthy causes.
“Rotary in London was on the scene within minutes of the Grenfell Tower disaster providing emergency help to victims.”
The full list of events below.

The History of Aquafest

On a visit to the Rotary Club of Axminster, Rotarian Stan Baker [pictured] of this club overheard a discussion on raft and canoe racing on the river Axe. Stan thought we could do something
similar on the river Ouse here in Ely, and so put it to the Club, who said it was a good idea.
Having obtained permission to use the field by the river on
Willow Walk, the Club fixed a date of the 16th July 1978, when Aquafest was born. They wrote to local firms inviting them to build rafts to race to the Cutter and back. They also asked those with canoes to race from the Black Horse Inn, Littleport to Military Bridge on the A1123 and back to Ely. This was a long race and subsequently died a natural death after two years.
Main arena events were often spectacular, such as High Wire acts, Parachute Jumps and an AutoGyro attacking Rotarian John Dennick who was on the river. The AutoGyro was flown by its creator, Wing Commander Ken Wallis who also doubled as Sean Connery in the James Bond films.
In 2004 the Rotary Club of Ely-Hereward was formed and were invited to participate in the Ely Club in a joint venture. It was in 2006 that Aquafest was expanded to incorporate Jubilee Gardens, thus involving the whole of Ely’s waterfront. Three of the original Rotarians, who were at the very first Aquafest, have between them participated at every event in the 38 years that Aquafest has been running.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner css=”.vc_custom_1498644020976{margin: 15px !important;background-color: #0f6dbf !important;}”][vc_column_inner 0=””][vc_custom_heading text=”Programme of Events” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]


11.30 Scouts Raft Race
12.00 Opening by the Mayor of Ely
12.45 Main Raft Race
1.00 Atrium Demonstration
2.00 Rocking Ukuleles
2.30 Prizegiving
2.30 Hannam’s Wake Hub
3.00 Vikings Re-enactment
3.45 Harriet Maddox
4.15 4th Dimension
4.45 Raffle Draw
5.00 Closing Announcements[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]


12.30 Opening by the Mayor of Ely
1.00 Children’s Races
2.00 Jacen Bruce
2.30 The Caverners
3.00 Michael Anthony
3.30 Jacen Bruce
4.00 The Caverners
4.30 Mountfield
5.00 Closing Announcements[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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