The Great Northern Basin was filled with boats and people over the spring bank holiday, as we held our 50th anniversary rally. It was also the 45th anniversary of the re-opening of the Great Northern Basin which was restored by our original members, some of whom are still active.
The three day event attracted 87 boats including 23 historic boats. Two of these were residents and were on display in the dry dock. There were also 9 trading boats. There were 35 trade stalls of diverse nature, plus visiting canal groups. The C&RT and the IWA were also represented. A real ale bar was provided in the marquee. The Victorian pump house was open to view and attracted many visitors especially when running from the steam roller. Also on display was the ex C&RT maintenance boat Pentland which we have recently restored enabling us to undertake more maintenance on the Erewash canal.
The rally opened on Saturday 25th May with the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band coming into the lock on board narrow boats Bath and Dawn Rose. The weather was glorious and the number of people coming in began to increase steadily until the whole site was very busy. This turnout was repeated on Sunday and Monday and must have been a record attendance. The atmosphere over the whole weekend was great and many people told us how much they were enjoying themselves.
On Saturday lunchtime there was entertainment in the marquee by the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band and in the afternoon by the Brinsley Community Choir. Also in the afternoon was a fly past by a Spitfire, courtesy of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and a walk and talk on part of the Nottingham and Erewash canals. The evening entertainment was Acoustic Union.
On Sunday the walk and talk was on the top of the Erewash canal and the start of the Cromford Canal. Entertainment in the afternoon was Prosody Band followed by the Red Lion Band. There was a BBMF fly past by a Hurricane. This was followed by the judging of the boaters bake-off and a dog show. Evening entertainment was an open mike night.
Monday morning entertainment was by Folk Friendzy Dancers with Elbow Jake taking the stage later. In the afternoon was another BBMF fly past by a Hurricane.
The rally was a great success which not only provided entertainment but also informed the public about what we and other associations do on the canals, plus we recruited some new members who are always welcome.
The ECP&DA would like to thank all the volunteers who helped with the rally. We also thank all the local businesses who donated raffle prizes. Sharon and her team at Langley Mill ASDA. Dan and Vikki of Langley Mill Boatyard, the BBMF and our neighbours Paul and Cheryl and KFC for the boaters' water supply. Also Fitzy (Acoustic Duo) for pre-rally entertainment. We are grateful to for the publicity from the Ilkeston Advertiser, BBC Radio Derby and BBC East Midlands Today who even did their Friday evening weather forecast from the rally site.