Friday, December 7, 2012

The Mayor's Thames Festival, London

I think every post I've written about our time in London this past September has been all "I love London I love London I love London."

Sorry guys, but this one isn't going to be any different.

thames festival london

Disembarking our Thames River Tour at the London Bridge, we were greeted with the street carnival atmosphere of the Mayor's Thames Festival. A celebration of the Thames and the city, the festival takes place every September. But in 2012 it had particular significance, and was a beautiful way to end a spectacular Olympic summer.  

thames festival paper boat london

thames festival paper boat london

At this (free) festival were greeted by two lovely volunteers handing out 'build your own paper boat' instructions: a testament to the playful, interactive atmosphere of this event.

thames festival london

As we wandered through the festival along the Thames, watching live music, dancing, and river races, I remembered what big city life could be like. Multicultural, bustling, busy, and hot. It was lovely to revel in it, if only for an afternoon.

thames festival london

It was also pretty neat for this seaside-dwelling girl to watch life unfold on a river. (They've always seemed so foreign to me.)

The Thames Festival is delivered by the Thames Festival Trust, a not-for-profit which is also the founding member of river//cities. river//cities "aims to increase the impact of culture on urban waterways and waterfronts". As their web site says:
Rivers are often regarded as a means of transport, or - at best - a space for water sports. But they are also powerful and symbolic icons for connecting people and ideas across regions and national borders. 

thames festival london

So, maybe, like river//cities, what the Thames Festival is all about is celebrating the connections between the water and the land, the industry and culture, and the city dwellers of London. The kind of connections that are created when you are building a 21st century city, or a little paper boat. 

I've always said I couldn't live in a city that wasn't by the sea or the ocean, but maybe I've underrated rivers.


- Jess


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