CLASSIC and sports car rides and canoe sessions are among new attractions lined up for this year’s Saltaire Festival.

Launched in 2003, Saltaire Festival is a major event on the World Heritage Site’s calendar – and this year it’s bigger than ever. Running from September 7 to 16, it offers art, music, dance, comedy, food and family fun. New events, including a drag act cabaret and a Lindy Hop night, run alongside favourites such as the village arts trail.

“We try to build year on year,” said festival chairman Vicky Bower. “We have wonderful new events and host venues. Ever fancied a ride in a sports or classic car? Sporting Bears Dream Rides provides the classic car experience in exchange for a donation to Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Special Baby Care Unit."

 If travelling on water is your thing, there are free 30-minute canoe rides along the Leeds & Liverpool canal, thanks to the Canal & River Trust.

“We’ve got a circus tent and a poetry night, where winners of our first poetry competition will read their poems. Our Lindy Hop night showcases 1940s-style moves, and another ‘first’ is a cabaret night, A Different Splash, with new and established music and drag acts.”

Villagers are traditionally involved, with many opening up their homes to festival-goers. A highlight is ‘Yard Fest’ – acoustic acts playing in a back yard – and a busking session in a garden.

“Over the first weekend we’ve got pop-up events in houses and gardens, and a sculpture trail,” said Vicky. “The second weekend sees the continental market on Exhibition Road, and food and drink stalls in Roberts Park.

“Art continues to be a focus, with Kitty North’s exhibition in Salts Mill, Aire Valley Arts exhibiting at the United Reformed Church and Shy Burham’s new photographic works at the Dandelion Cafe. Local schools will be showing their artistic talents at the Higher Ground Cafe at Hirst Lock. We’ve got comedy, a play and a Saltaire Revue. The closing weekend sees live music in Roberts Park, with bands on stage from midday.

“We’re very proud of this year’s programme,” added Vicky. “I think a big appeal is that there are so many different parts to it – something for everyone. People just enjoy the vibe; it’s friendly, relaxed and you can bring the kids along.”

l Visit