This festival only occurs every two years and this year it has been well organised and well attended.
There are a number of events on both land and water. There is dragon boat racing, competitions for the best "dressed" boat. There is a medieval village showing what life was like in those times. There are many food and drink stalls and the usual stalls selling things from Oriental handbags to plants and flowers.
The event is over two days. The first evening ended with an illuminated boat parde and tomorrow ends with a firework display.
Unfortunately I cannot stay for tommorow, but, I am sure the day will be as good as today. I will be back in 2006!!
Once again – my short drive home from work starts off with another beautiful show of spring flowers, with design and hard work care of my local council – thank you!!
Remember the black and white theme from 2004 – (see tip above)? Well this year it’s red and yellow!! Equally eyecatching, though unfortunately my pic does NOT do it justice – what will next year bring I wonder!
Here's a great example of the 'black & white' theme chosen by the town Mayor for 2004.
It was one of several beautiful displays around the town. Unfortunately, these have now been cleared away to make way for another theme which will no doubt be as good as ever!
Top marks to the designers and gardeners of course!
NOW........see this year's pic!! Which do you prefer?
The River Ouse runs through the centre of Bedford. It has beautiful gardens for a whole mile alongside the road named appropraitely 'The Embankment'.
A lovely park with a large childrens play area and also a boating lake are close by, making a visit here an enjoyable family passtime - plenty of geese and ducks to amuse kids too!
Many visitors come to stroll along and admire the colourful display of flowers that seem to be different every year. This years display was chosen by the town Mayor and is based on a 'black and white' theme. All the flower beds around the town are on the same theme, and the successful idea has proved to be very eyecatching.
The 2004 Bedford River Festival was held over 2 days during early July. This year was as good as they get! The weather held out and a great time was had by all!
Check out 'www.bedford.gov.uk/bedford/river/festival2002.asp' to see pictures of events and fun moments at a previous festival.
It is held every other year for a weekend in July (it always used to be May but somehow the weather always put a 'dampener' on things!) I have been to the last 10 or more and wouldn't miss it!
I once heard that it is the second biggest organised event of its kind in England - Notting Hill Carnival being the biggest. Not sure if that is true but it is certainly 'big'!
If you missed it this year then there's always 2006!!
The present Corn Exchange was opened in 1874. It has been used for many functions over the years and was also known as the 'Lombardo Hall' at the time when Glenn Miller and the BBC used the venue regularly during the Second World War.
It is still a popular venue with both professional and amateur performers. It underwent an extensive refurbishment in 1995. There is a tribute to Glenn Miller on the front of the building.
Elstow is a small village on the southern outskirts of Bedford. It's main claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of John Bunyan who wrote the religious book The Pilgrim's Progress (the hymn Fight the Good Fight was inspired by the book).
In the well preserved Moot Hall is the door to Bedford Gaol, where Bunyan was imprisoned for having radical ideas.
The Moot Hall at Elstow is beautifully preserved and a great example of the medieval (I think) main settlement building where trade etc was completed along with town meetings.
As was common in that time the upper floor reaches out further than the lower one.
While vistingMoot Hall we came across this lovely church just across the green. It is in a tranquil location and is worth a visit if you are in the area. It is the Abbey church of St Mary and St Helena. It was founed in 1078 by Judith, who was the niece of William the first.
John Bunyan was baptised here in 1628.
The beautiful wide embankment has lots of lovely parks,swans and stretches from the High Street to Aspects leisure Park. It will be host to the Bedford river festival on 3rd and 4th July 2004 and promises to be better than ever.
Just to the South of Bedford is Elstow and home to Moot Hall.
Moot Hall is an old timber framed Market hall and is set on the village green.
It is now a museum and houses many pieces of Period furniture and it also shows the life and traditions of England in the 17th century.
(Will visit soon and take a photo to show you it's beauty)
One of Bedford's finest churches is St Paul's. Located in the center of Bedford, it's hard to miss with its tall spire.
Bedford is a very attractive town, with plenty of parks along the River Great Ouse. One can spend hours exploring them.
The Butterfly Bridge in Bedford was completed in 1998 and is an attractive Pedestrian footbridge which crooses the River Ouse.
It is an elegant twin arch design.
An added bonus behind the Moot Hall is this delightful little church. A typical English village church.