ORGANISERS of this year’s Burnley Canal Festival have announced a ‘raft’ of events as part of the programme for this month’s three-day carnival.

Free street theatre, boat trips and behind-the-scenes tours will be on offer to visitors over three days, with council chiefs hoping to boost the town’s tourism sector.

A new addition for the Bank Holiday weekend festival, now in its third year, will see raft racing take place for the first time along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Canoeing taster sessions, karaoke and food stalls will also be on offer, while the main attraction is set to be a giant puppet procession at midday on Saturday.

Council leader Mark Townsend said the waterway was ‘a marvellous asset for Burnley’.

The Labour councillor added: “The festival will be another great way to boost Burnley’s image. The town has been receiving positive coverage for its exciting transformations in recent months and events such as this can only add to our reputation as a vibrant town with a great lifestyle offer.

“Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the huge regeneration project underway developing, ‘OnTheBanks’, one of the largest heritage-led regeneration projects in the country, sensitively regenerating this historic area to create a mixed use waterside leisure, business and education centre.”

The festival has been co-ordinated by The Prince’s Charities, Burnley Council, Reedley Marina, Foulridge Cruises, The Inn on the Wharf, Weavers’ Triangle Visitor Centre, the Canal and River Trust, The Canalside Association and Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society.

It runs over the August Bank Holiday weekend, from 11am to 4pm, Saturday August 23 to Monday August 25.

The Prince’s Charities’ North West cluster manager Barbara Trencher said: “We’re really excited to have so much support from the local community for the festival. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is truly at the heart of Burnley and its wonderful how so many people want to celebrate this important part of their local heritage.”