SLIDESHOW: Festival fever as hundreds of thousands enjoy fun in the sun

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More than 300,000 people descended on Bedford’s river banks for the town’s biggest free weekend extravaganza -see our festival slideshow!

The biennial River Festival was hailed a great success as the area between Town Bridge and Priory Bridge hosted boat races, four stages of entertainment, a flotilla of decorated boats and stalls offering food and drink from around the world.

The event, which took five days to set up, also saw flypasts from the Red Arrows, and historic Second World War aeroplanes - a Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster bomber, and a colourful parade through town on Sunday.

Despite the huge crowds, police made just ten arrests over the two days. A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman said the force tripled its numbers of on-duty officers to 100, who worked in shifts over the event.

She said: “It was a very peaceful weekend and we are pleased with the way it went. The arrests included four for possession of drugs, four for affray, one person with an offensive weapon, and one assault which was alcohol related.”

She added: “Officers also helped reunite lost children with their families and assisted a distressed dog. The dog was overheating so officers sent it, and the owners, to the vet.”

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson, said: “A huge thank you goes to everyone who visited and everyone who took part in any way over what was a fantastic River Festival weekend for Bedford.

“The sheer number of local people and groups involved, both working and enjoying themselves, shows the River Festival still retains its spirit as a community-owned event and one we can all be proud of.”

>> Our pictures show the carnival parade, some of the thousands of spectators, and the team from Michael R Peters of Bedford with their Dalek by the riverside.




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