Canal boats are already gathering ahead of this weekend’s waterways festival at Chester’s Tower Wharf next to Telford’s Warehouse.

The free admission Campaign Festival at Tower Wharf (June 6-8) features more than 100 decorated visiting craft, live music, entertainment, free boat trips, children’s activities – and a fly-past by an RAF Hurricane.

As well as being an enjoyable event, the festival aims to promote the neglected Dee branch of the Shropshire Union Canal with a future plan to link the canal and River Dee so boats can travel upstream as far as Farndon.

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Organised by the Inland Waterways Association Chester & Merseyside branch, some activities are already underway ahead of the weekend. But Friday sees a tour of Taylor’s historic boatyard at 11am and guided walks around the Old Port at 2.30pm and 4pm. At 8pm, the band ‘Jigsmith’ will perform at a ceilidh being held in the Deaf Centre hall for visiting boaters.

The restored Shropshire Union Fly-Boat 'Saturn' being pulled along the Shropshire Union Canal at Waverton by 'Cracker' with Stephen Rhys-Jones (left) and Lynn Griffiths

On Saturday there will be another tour of Taylor’s at 11am, free boat trips, courtesy of the Canal & River Trust, music throughout the day by the Lyceum Brass Band and The Prospects rhythm ‘n’ blues band, plus keep fit pole dancing displays by Apsara Dance between 11am and noon.

There will be ‘Wild over Waterways’ children’s activities, trade stands, refreshments and free taster angling sessions. A highlight will be the flypast by a Second World War RAF Hawker Hurricane at 1.55pm.

Although more than 14,000 of these classic planes were built, just 12 airworthy models are left in the world, and only six in the UK. The RAF is proud to operate two of them.

During the evening, Latin reggae group Banda Bacana will perform at Telford's Warehouse.

On Sunday there will be an opportunity for visiting boaters to join a guided walk around Chester and see the area included in the Vision for Chester’s waterways with, again, free boat trips, children’s activities and music during the day with the Bostock Brass Band and folk group Pastry Shoes.

A Fun Pet Show – open to all – takes place at 11.30am with a Port and Lock walk at 2pm and a grand draw at 3pm. Apsara Dance features between 2 and 3pm.

For more information, see the IWA website.