STREET theatre, high-flying acrobatics, comedy shows, dance, music and female boxing workshops will be just some of the free entertainment on offer at Bradford Festival this weekend.

The three-day event, which runs from Friday to Sunday, will feature a wide variety of acts at venues including City Park and Norfolk Gardens.

Entertainment kicks off on Friday at noon with The Big Sing for Peace when more than 500 pupils will sing songs of peace and friendship in Centenary Square.

They will perform hits such as Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Consider Yourself' and Three Little Birds. Schools taking part include Barkerend Primary School and Lapage Primary School.

The Big Sing forms part of Routes to Peace, a programme designed to promote good community relations. Before their performance, the children will meet at a workshop and make poppies and kites.

Friday night is music night in Centenary Square with Angelo Palladino on stage from 8.15pm. Other acts performing include Bradford five-piece Wilful Missing and alternative acoustic-rock band Men Can't Fly.

Other activities which get under way at noon include an Islamic and Arabic calligraphy workshop at Norfolk Gardens between 3pm and 6pm. The same venue will stage a kids story zone between the same times.

Saturday's events include Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie, a show by British theatre company Les Enfants Terrible. In the show, at 11.30am and 5.50pm, an exotic caravan will mysteriously arrive in City Park filled with Vaudeville acts, live musicians and puppeteers.

In Dream Engine's Sling Pole, an acrobat will be catapulted high into the air at City Park at 4pm to perform a death-defying, high altitude routine.

Fools Rush In bring comedy theatre to Tyrrell Street on Saturday between noon and 6pm.

Shipley's Q20 Theatre will bring a mix of blend of slapstick comedy, mime and audience participation as a silent movie trio perform Silent Movies Come to Life at City Park from 12.30pm to 6pm.

Mela Day will be marked on Sunday with a variety of acts including Kala Sangam's Fusion sounds and stances on Centenary Stage at 3.45pm and 3.50pm.

Bombay Baja and Dancers hit the City Park perform at 3pm and 5pm.

The UK's most celebrated Punjabi Dhol drummer, Johnny Kalsi and the Dhol Foundation will play global rhythms and thumping contemporary bhangra beats from 7pm on Centenary Stage. Meanwhile, female boxing taster workshop sessions will take place at City Park at 2pm.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council's portfolio holder for culture, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for local people to come together and enjoy three days of high quality entertainment.

"We have something for everyone here.

"I'm pleased so many children from all over the district are taking part in Bradford Festival this year. What's more they are bringing a great positive message for festival goers."

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