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  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: The Big Read

The Big Read: Sat 16th July - 13th September (Birmingham)

The Big Read book bench trail will run until 13th September Credit: Wild in Art

Over 170 BookBench sculptures, decorated by young people in the West Midlands as part of The Big Read, a unique arts project to promote literacy development, will be on public display in Birmingham.

There is also a whole host of literary-themed events and activities taking place around the displays to spark everybody’s interest in reading and writing.

Locations for the summer-long BookBench displays are widespread: Birmingham city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods, Solihull, Walsall, Sandwell and Coventry, with venues including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Library of Birmingham, Grand Central, Waterstones, Foyles,Sarehole Mill, The Core and Coventry Central Library

Every decorated BookBench tells a special story and, together with a jam-packed summer of book-themed events and activities, we hope The Big Read encourages all generations to rekindle their passion for reading and writing.”

– Ben Reed, Development Director at Wild in Art

For opening times and more information visit:

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Arts Festival

Wollaton Arts Festival: Thurs 14th - Sun 17th July (Wollaton Park, Nottingham)

A range of events will take place over the two day festival Credit: Nottingham City Council

The first Wollaton Arts Festival, a brand new event by and for the people of Wollaton, will take place this weekend.

The festival will celebrate the vibrant local community in Wollaton, with free events for everyone to take part in. It’ll include events such as a ‘Big Picnic’ in Wollaton Park on Sunday 17 July.

Festival events include:

Festival Gathering - 16 July - Take a trip down memory lane and find out about the history of Wollaton (and share your own photos and memories) plus enjoy live music

Wollaton Arts Festival Bake Off - 16 July - Enter a showstopping cake in one of two categories, under 18 and over 18

Wollaton Big Picnic - 17 July - A chance to enjoy food and drink, live music and entertainment with other local people. There'll also be free storytelling and activities for children, creative workshops, tours, walks and exhibitions.

I want to encourage everyone living and working in Wollaton to join us at the first Wollaton Arts Festival.

We need you to make the event a success and hopefully an annual event in Wollaton’s calendar.”

– Neighbourhood Development Officer for Wollaton, Lylse-Anne Renwick

For opening times and more information visit:

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Carnival of Giants

Carnival of Giants: Sat 16th July (Telford Town Park, Telford)

A GIANT parade will take place from 2pm Credit: Telford & Wrekin Council

This Saturday Telford Town Park will come alive with prehistoric dinosaurs as they take over the QEII Arena for the Carnival of Giants event.

A GIANT parade will take place from 2pm featuring 500 people, dino paraphernalia and unique dinosaurs.

The community stage spot will be host to local dance, music and performances. There will also be a dressing up box, a craft marquee, sports, activities, food stalls, a large fun fair, and carnival games.

The interest in Carnival of Giants has been phenomenal and it’s easy to see why.

There is so much to do for all the family and everyone is sure to be amazed by the spectacular dinosaurs”.

– Councillor Liz Clare, Cabinet Member for Culture

For opening times and more information visit:


  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Pick: Proms Spectacular

Proms Spectacular: Sat 16th July (Bradgate Park, Leicestershire)

The event will start at 8pm and finish in a light show and wildlife friendly pyrotechnics. Credit: Bradgate Park

Bradgate Park is celebrating another milestone in its history with its first ever Proms event taking place this Saturday.

The Ruins of Bradgate Park House, in the centre of Bradgate Park will be welcoming the nationally acclaimed local Bardi Wind Orchestra for a night of popular pomp and ceremony.

The evening of popular and traditional music will keep the whole family entertained, claims organisers.

Bradgate House is steeped in history, being the first unfortified great house built in England and the childhood home of the Nine Day Queen, Lady Jane Grey.

Its ruins are a wonderfully evocative setting in which to enjoy an evening of music".

– Peter Tyldesley

For opening times and more information visit:

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Sandwell & Birmingham Mela

Sandwell & Birmingham Mela: Sat 16th - Sun 17th (Victoria Park, Smethwick)

80,000 people attended the two-day festival last year. Credit: Birmingham Mela

Thousands of visitors will head to Victoria Park in Smethwick this weekend for the UK’s biggest Asian festival

The festival combines live international music performances, stalls, food, arts, community showcases, workshops and a funfair.

Over 100 artists and groups are set to perform at the event including Bollywood singer Mika Singh and artists Sukshinder Shinda, Zack Knight, Resham Anmol, Hardy Sandhu and Zora Randhawa.

The Mela is months of hard work and dedication by the team. This year we have put in the extra effort and are bringing something really special. Staging Mika Singh will make the Mela even bigger and attract a much diverse audience. Mika is India’s biggest Bollywood singer and he will rock the UK audience!"

– Danny Singh, Director of Sandwell & Birmingham Mela

Road closures and parking restrictions will be in place on the following roads on event days between 11.30 and 19.00:- Corbett Street, Suffrage Street, Scribbans Close, Pritchard Close, Ballot Street, Exeter Road, Jordan Close, Barnstaple Road, Tiverton Road, Dawlish Road, Victoria Park Road, Ron Davis Close, Pool Road, Salcombe Road, Amity Close, Pool Road, Allan Close

For opening times and more information visit:

  1. Maya Patel

Weekend Picks: Rowing Championships

British Rowing Junior Championships: Sat16th - Sun 17th July (Holme Pierrepont Country Park, Nottinghamshire)

More than eight hundred crews are set to race at the 2016 British Rowing Junior Championship. Credit: Drew Smith

Head down to Holme Pierrepont Country Park this weekend to watch the future of British Rowing compete in the Junior British Rowing Championships.

Racing over 2000m visitors can cheer on and support competitors as they race along the 2km Regatta Lake.

Competitors will be travelling from all parts of England, as well as from Wales, Scotland and Gibraltar to challenge themselves for the title of British Rowing Junior Champion.

Saturday’s racing kicks off with a large number of crews racing in different time trials to race This then sets up the final day of racing with semi-finals and finals on the Sunday.

It is great to see the growth of this event. Each year we are always aiming to raise the bar in terms of competition and event delivery.

This year, we are particularly excited about the introduction of a new style of racing for the J14s. “

– Jim Harlow, Chairman of the Regatta

For opening times and more information visit:

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