The Royal row barge, Gloriana, the late Sir Malcom Campbell’s Bluebird K3 hydroplane powerboat and the Dunkirk Little Ships will all be making their presence felt when they take part in the Thames Traditional River Festival at Henley in July.
Now in its 40th year, the event will run from 20-22 July at Fawley Meadows, opposite the Regatta Enclosures.
The Bluebird K3 hydroplane powerboat, which was built in 1937 to win back the World Water Speed record from America, may not be breaking records at the three-day festival.
Instead, it will be moving at a much slower pace on the Thames as she is taken along the full Royal Regatta Course by owner Karl Foulkes Halbard.
The Thames Traditional River Festival co-chairman, Lady Judy McAlpine, said Bluebird will provide ‘an historic photo-opportunity alongside the colourful spectacle of the Royal row-barge Gloriana – at 92 feet the longest ever built,’
‘We will also be welcoming one of only a few World War I Royal Navy vessels still afloat,’ she added.
Coastal Forces Motor Boat No 9 is thought to be the only surviving WWI torpedo boat – and she will line up with the Heroes of Dunkirk, the fleet of “Little Ships” that sailed across the English Channel to help with the evacuation of Dunkirk during world War II.
Other special attractions include a Victorian passenger steamer – Alaska, the oldest still in regular service – and there will be the annual illuminated parade when traditional boats illuminated with thousands of lights sail into Henley on the Saturday night.
Established in 1978 to encourage the restoration, maintenance and use of traditionally built craft, the festival has Olympic medallist Sir Steve Redgrave as patron.
He said: ‘The festival is growing in popularity every year, incorporating the traditional values of many trades and crafts as well as providing a fun weekend for all the family.’
The festival starts on Friday, 20 July continuing on Saturday and Sunday with packed timetables on all three days.
The Gloriana and Dunkirk Little Ships sail-past take place on all three days. Bluebird K3 will be demonstrated on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons
Tickets for the event are available from www.tradboatfestival.com
‘We are almost in the centre of Henley and there will be masses of free parking – and you can camp on site (pre-book). It really is a very special family inclusive event,’ stressed Lady Judy McAlpine.
‘With local “pop and Jazz groups every night” Using a motor sport analogy: if the Regatta is “The Festival of Speed” then the TRAD is “The Revival Meeting”. We want the world to know, to come and play, even to dress the part!’