Our guide to some of the best open air events this summer
PUBLISHED: 10:30 04 May 2012 | UPDATED: 21:22 20 February 2013
Look no further than Cheshire to enjoy fun at some of the UK's best open-air summer festivals WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH
Wilson Trophy, West Kirby
Watch 200 Olympic standard sailors take to the waters at Marine Lake in West Kirby for the chance to take home the Wilson Trophy. The three-day event, which takes place on May 11th-13th, includes 300 short, hectic races as three-boat teams battle it out on the water. www.wksc.net/wilsontrophy
Congleton Food and Drink Festival
This popular event has gained serious momentum. The festival, on June 17th, was founded to help promote local produce and now its a big event for all foodies.
On High Street there will be over 80 stalls of food from Cheshire and further afield as well as music, dance, stilt walkers and cooking demonstrations.
The event also marks the start of Tasty Town Week. www.foodanddrinkfestival.net
Dancing with Giants, Chester
Join the Queens Jubilee celebrations on June 4th at the Dancing with Giants event in Chester. Community groups and businesses from across Cheshire, Warrington and North Wales have been working hard to create more than 60 giant Queen models, based on a template produced by North Wales sculptor Nick Elphick. They will parade through the streets to mark the historical day.
The event, aimed at bringing communities together, is organised by a not-for-profit social enterprise company, Giants. www.thegiants.org.uk
Wirral Kite Festival, New Brighton
Experience this colourful spectacle as kites fill the sky over the beach at New Brighton. Kite flyers from across the UK descend on this beautiful area on June 9th and 10th. There will be a kite-making workshop at the festival for those who want to give it a try. Proceeds go to Vision4Children, based at Alder Hey Childrens Hospital. There will also be a funfair, trade stands and a food court. 0151 691 8269, www.visitwirral.com/whatson
Cholmondeley Pageant of Power
The Cholmondeley Pageant of Power is set for an explosive return on June 15th-17th. There will be a host of new attractions and features to thrill petrolheads and families looking for an unbeatable fun-packed day out. The event, which takes place in the grounds of the Cholmondeley Castle Estate, showcases the best of historic and contemporary automotive power.
The pageant boasts a 1.2 mile powerboat circuit on the Mere, military combat power demonstrations and stunning aerobatic displays.
This year it will also host the largest gathering of Anglo-American sports cars in a special display and the aero-engined BMW Brutus will make a star appearance.
On June 16th the Cholmondeley Castle Annual Fireworks and Military Tattoo will be staged with performances led by Manchester Camerata. www.cpop.co.uk
Macclesfield Barnaby Festival
Indulge in some midsummer madness at this years Macclesfield Barnaby Festival. The four-day event, taking place on June 21st-24th, will include a carnival parade based on the four elements with local people dressed in divine costumes on floats that will parade through the town. Organisers are hoping to have 1,000 Maxonians join in.
There will also be creative workshops to help people prepare for the parade, which will wend its way through the streets of Macclesfield on June 23rd showcasing the work of schools, community and neighbourhood groups. www.barnabyfestival.org.uk
Live from Jodrell Bank
Watch big-name artists Elbow and Paul Weller perform in the shadow of the world-famous Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank, near Holmes Chapel, on June 23rd 24th. Live from Jodrell Bank is a series of shows taking place throughout the year. As well as providing an incredible backdrop the telescope will be used as a projection screen.
Experiments and workshops will also be held during the day and there will be free access to the new visitor centre. www.livefromjodrellbank.com
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester
Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre returns with Shakespeares comedy Twelfth Night and Masters Are You Mad? a newly commissioned work by award-winning writer Glyn Maxwell. Some of the countrys leading actors will join the critically acclaimed outdoor theatre, produced by Chester Performs, to present 49 performances between July 16th and August 19th. www.grosvenorparkopenairtheatre.co.uk
Gawsworth Hall Open Air Theatre
Enjoy the summer season in style with a host of productions in one of Britains most beautiful garden theatres. The Gawsworth Hall Open Air Theatre programme runs from June 30th to August 19th and includes everything from Shakespeares A Midsummer Nights Dream and Gilbert and Sullivans The Pirates of Penzance to appearances from poet and author Gervase Phinn and Les Miserables tenor Alfie Boe. The Richards family, who own Gawsworth Hall, near Macclesfield, have been staging summer productions here since 1969. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the grounds and you need not worry if it rains because you can watch the performances from a fully covered grandstand. www.gawsworthhall.com
Tatton Park Picnic Concerts, Knutsford
Be a part of this breathtaking musical experience with a weekend of fantastic events. The Halle Fireworks and Choral Spectacular takes place on July 28th with a firework finale while July 29th is the date of a Back to the 80s concert featuring Tony Hadley, Rick Astley, Roland Gift, Heaven 17 and Altered Images. You can also enjoy a picnic in the estates grounds while you watch. If you dont want to make our own snacks, picnic hampers can be provided by Carluccios. www.tattonparkconcerts.com
Wirral Food & Drink Festival, Bebington
This hugely popular event returns to Claremont Farm, Bebington, to celebrate local food. Special events will be held across Wirral in the run up to the main festival weekend on August 26th 27th. The festival, now in its seventh year, has lots of tasty treats to taste and buy, cookery demonstrations and a host of family fun. It is run by volunteers for the benefit of the local community. www.wirralfoodfestival.co.uk
Just So Festival, Rode Hall and Gardens
Events for children dont get any better than this. The parkland surrounding Rode Hall in Scholar Green, near Sandbach, is transformed into a magical and creative place for children, young people and their families to explore. Experience musical, theatrical, visual and aural performances in the spectacular woodland setting with everything from trapeze lessons, an appearance by food landscape artist Carl Warner and have a go at becoming a pirate. The not-for-profit event, being held in Cheshire for the first time, takes place on August 17th-19th. Make a day of it or camp over to enjoy the full weekend of festivities. www.justsofestival.org.uk
Port Sunlight Summer Festival
Enjoy a fun family day out in the beautiful surroundings of Port Sunlight Village. The annual Summer Festival, being held on August 25th, has everything from live entertainment, more than 100 food producer stalls, a dog show and childrens performers. The event is held in partnership with International Beatle Week to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles. There will be performances from tribute bands throughout the day. 0151 644 6466. www.portsunlightvillage.
Don't forget to send your tweets and photos from these events at @cheshirelife
And theres more
Friends of Mine Festival: May 1st 31st in the grounds of Capesthorne Hall, Siddington. Take a look at work from an eclectic group of artists and enjoy stand-up comedy acts and musicians as well as poetry and spoken word sessions. www.fomfest.com
Knutsford Royal May Day: May 5th. Watch hundreds of characters and decorated lorries make their way through the streets of the town for the crowning of the May Queen. www.knutsford-royal-may-day.co.uk
Spellbound: May 19th -20th at Delamere Forest. Follow twisting paths through the forest to discover the stories of English fairy tales through theatrical performance, music, visual art and dance. www.spellboundforest.org.uk
Chester Folk Festival: June 1st 4th in Kelsall, near Chester. Concerts, ceilidhs, workshops and a craft fair are among the many events taking place. www.chesterfolk.org.uk
Diamond Jubilee 1950s Celebration: June 4th. Take a step back in time at Tatton Parks Old Hall, Knutsford, to experience the New Elizabethan Age when Elizabeth II became Queen. www.tattonpark.org.uk
Wirral Folk on the Coast Festival: June 7th 10th at Whitby Sports and Social Club, Ellesmere Port. More than 150 performers and five main stage concerts headlined by Barbara Dickson. www.wirralfolkonthecoast.com
Foodies Festival: July 6th 8th at Tatton Park, Knutsford. Cooking demonstrations, tasting sessions and lots of artisan food. www.foodiesfestival.com
Cloud 9 Festival: August 11th at Love Lane Farm, Betchton, Sandbach. An event started by Congleton residents Martin Wheelton, Nick Mullis, Dan Biddulph and Ian Whiston that attracts 5,000 music lovers. www.cloud9.co.uk
Macbeth: August 29th at Ness Botanic Gardens, Neston. Outdoor theatre presented by The Lord Chamberlains Men. www.nessgardens.org.uk
The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012 issue of Cheshire Life
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