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  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Open Water Festival

Open Water Festival: Sun 22nd May (Ragley Hall, Warwickshire)

Swimmers entering the water at Ragley Hall at the Open Water Festival Credit: RLSS

Swimmers are being invited to jump in and take part in an Open Water Festival this weekend in aid of drowning prevention.

The Ragley Crawl allows swimmers to tackle a one-mile, half a mile or team relay course designed to encourage all levels of open water swimmers to get in and enjoy the freedom of the open water.

The event is open to anyone from first time open water dippers to regular competitors. Former Great Britain world champion swimmer James Hickman is also set to make an appearance and take part.

“Open water swimming is the UK’s fastest growing sport and, as the leaders in water safety and lifesaving education, we want to continue to provide safe open water swimming.

“Around 400 people needlessly die from drowning in the UK every year and we want to ensure everyone of all ages can enjoy water safely.

This is why we want to offer a fun open water swimming event that everyone can enjoy in a safe, controlled environment.”

– Adrian Lole, RLSS UK’s Technical Director

For prices, opening times and more information visit: www.rlss.org.uk

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: BioBlitz Leicester

BioBlitz Leicester: Friday 20th - Sat 21st May (Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester)

Events run from 7pm - midnight on Friday and 7am-3pm on Saturday Credit: Leicester City Council

Help search for 500 species in just two days at the annual Bioblitz event in Leicester.

Families of all ages are invited to record the diversity of plants, birds and mammals in less than 24 hours.

There is something for everyone to get involved in, either joining in on a single activity or getting involved in as many surveys over the two days.

People can take part in some bat detecting or a night-time moth safari or join an early morning ‘dawn chorus’ bird walk. On Saturday visitors can follow a number of nature trails through the wildflower meadows and woodlands.

“Every BioBlitz throws up some surprises in the wildlife that the volunteers find living on the city’s parks and green spaces. It’s a wonderful reminder that you don’t need to travel far to enjoy a huge range of wildlife – it’s right here on our doorsteps.” - Cllr Adam Clarke, Assistant City Mayor for Sustainability

“BioBlitz has something for all ages and we welcome hundreds of budding nature detectives at the events each year”.

– Helen O’Brien, City Council Nature Conservation Officer

For prices, opening times and more information visit: www.leicester.gov.uk/promoting-biodiversity

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day: Sat 21st May (Edgbaston)

There's a family fun day in Edgbaston this weekend. Credit: BSMHFT

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust will hold its annual family fun day in Edgbaston this weekend.

There’ll be a range of activities for all the family including a children’s corner, refreshment barbecue, market place and live performances.

“The family fun days attract hundreds of people and help the Trust to challenge the stigma associated with mental health, by reaching out to and involving local communities across Birmingham and Solihull and strengthening our relationships with them”.

– Lakhvir Rellon, Head of Community Engagement

For prices, opening times and more information visit: www.bsmhft.nhs.uk

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Weekend Picks: Remembering the 1940s

Remembering the 1940s: Sun 22nd May (Forge Mill, Redditch)

There’ll be displays of 1940s vehicles, Austin Ten cars, model planes Credit: Forge Mill Needle Museum

Find out more about life during the Second World War this weekend with a special Remembering the 40s event at Forge Mill Museum.

There’ll be displays of 1940s vehicles, Austin Ten cars, model planes and flying demonstrations.

“Remembering the Forties event gets bigger each year and we are thrilled to be working with Wythall Transport Museum to provide our visitors with the chance to take a ride on a vintage bus.

We’re all set for a fantastic event so pop down and enjoy a trip back in time with all the family!”

– Debbie Lakeman, Events Officer

For prices, opening times and more information visit: http://www.forgemill.org.uk/events.htm

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Midlands Dance

Midlands Dance Showcase: Sat 21st May (Derby Theatre, Derby)

Audiences can enjoy talents from all ages and genres Credit: Credit: Fernando Leon / ABACA USA/PA Images

This weekend some of the best dancing talents of the Midlands will be taking part in the Co-ACT Midlands Dance Showcase 2016.

Audiences can enjoy talents from all ages and genres including ballet, tap, street dance, modern jazz and contemporary. Proceeds from the event will go towards Cancer Research UK.

For prices, opening times and more information visit: www.derbytheatre.co.uk/co-act-midlands-dance-showcase-2016

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Spider Exhibition

British Tarantula Society 31st Annual Exhibition: Sun 22nd May (Meridienne Exhibitions Ltd, Royal Leamington Spa)

Monocentopus balfori was the best in show winner last year. Credit: Peter Kirk

More than 50,000 spiders are heading to Warwickshire this weekend for an event likened to ‘The Crufts of The Spider World'.

The British Tarantula Society (BTS) is staging its 31st annual exhibition, which will attract visitors from as far away as America, Asia and Europe. Visitors will be able to see and buy a variety of arachnids, scorpions, stick insects, beetles and other insects throughout the day.

Society members will be able to submit their prized spiders for a series of awards including 'Best Brachypelma Species', 'Best New World Terrestrial' and 'Best Scorpion'.

“We are expecting around 70 exhibitors selling spider-related items ranging from tarantulas and equipment to books, jewellery and T-shirts.

There will also be all sorts of bugs and creepy crawlies for the visitor to see. There’s even a guy who makes bug sculptures with a chainsaw.”

– Ray Hale, Vice Chairman of the British Tarantula Society

For prices, opening times and more information visit: www.exhibition.thebts.co.uk

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Race, Rock, Ride

Race, Rock, Ride: Sat 21st - Sun 22nd May (Santa Pod Raceway, Northants)

Visitors can check out some of the best bikes in the country Credit: Santa Pod Raceway

Two days of non-stop biking action takes place at the Santa Pod Raceway this weekend.

There’ll be drag racing demos, monster truck displays and wheelie competitions. Top stunt riders will test their limits and skills in a show that will wow crowds.

Visitors can check out some of the best bikes in the country from retro rides to custom bikes.

“There are loads of activities for punters of all ages to get involved in. From ogling dream bikes to taking a ride on the Red Dragon Monster Trucks, customers won’t be disappointed…

We’re sure this will be a festival to remember for all motorcycle enthusiasts, and we certainly can’t wait to see Live/Wire top the bill on Saturday night.”

– Nick Mowbray, Mortons’ Exhibition Manager

For prices, opening times and more information visit: www.racerockride.co.uk

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