FAMILIES are set to flock to Northwich for the town’s debut River Festival.

The event, which includes the annual regatta staged by Northwich Rowing Club, takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 6pm.

The festival is the brainchild of Rotary club and festival chairman John Walton, and brings together Northwich Rotary, Northwich Rowing Club, Northwich Town Council, Inland Waterways Association and River Weaver Navigation Society, with support from The Canal and River Trust.

John said the main aim of the festival is to promote Northwich as a river town.

“This is the first time Northwich has had something like this,” he said.

“This is revolutionary for Northwich. What has happened in the past has been a boat festival, this is not a boat festival – this is a river festival.”

The regatta and Dragon Boat races are being held on Saturday, with regatta races on the river between the Anderton Boat Lift and Barons Quay, which is the main festival site.

A number of activities are planned throughout the weekend, including the Artisan Market, trade stalls, children’s rides, emergency service displays and food stalls.

A pop up theatre will also be touring the town, providing a presentation on the history of the River Weaver in Northwich as well as the town’s salt history.

On Sunday, up to 2000 plastic ducks will be released into the River Dane near Memorial Court for a charity Duck Race.

On Saturday evening, Brit Pop tribute act Marblehead Johnson ant The Microtones will perform at Northwich Memorial Court. Doors open at 8pm and tickets cost £10.

After working for the past 18 months putting the River Festival together, John said he is excited to get it underway.

He said Northwich Rotary club hope they can make it an annual event on the summer calendar.

He said: “We’ll have to collect all of the information from all of the people involved to see if we’ve got the support to do it again, but we would like it to be an annual event.”

For more information visit northwichriverfestival.org.uk