The Chippenham River Festival is returning to Monkton Park on Satur-day and Sunday for a weekend of fun on the water.

This year’s festival, which will be the fourth, will feature a range of activities for all the family.

With canoeing, rowing, paddle-boarding and live music all on offer, the festival celebrates life on the river in Chippenham.

The big event kicks off at 10.45am, when the River Festival Flotilla leaves the Chippenham Sailing and Canoeing Club, with mayor Andy Phillips and his wife Nina climbing aboard as passengers on the Sea Cadets’ launch boat, Viking.

Chippenham’s River King and Queen, Andrew King and drag artist Bambi Violet, will be guests aboard a Wilts and Berks Canal Trust boat.

The pair, who celebrated their coronation on the Town Bridge on Saturday, were chosen after competing for the titles at a club night at Jax Landing in Chippenham.

Organisers are still looking for more competitors to take part in Saturday’s raft race, which starts at the Town Bridge at 1pm and finishes at Monkton Park.

“We’re hoping that, now the Olympics are over, the people of Chippenham are ready to take part in their very own aqua Olympics,” said festival co-ordinator Liz Boden.

“It’s going to be a brilliant event, and we’d welcome more people to take part.”

Entry is free and the winning team will get £250 plus the winners’ shield.

Rafters can bring along their own rafts, or alternatively, Ocean Rock Adventure will be holding raft-building workshops – and providing materials – at 10am on Saturday. Places must be booked in advance.

The big draw on Sunday looks set to be the wild swim, which starts at Chippenham Sailing and Canoeing Club at 3.15pm and finishes at Island Park.

Hardy swimmers will be taking to the water in the hopes of being the first to finish.

Mrs Boden said it brings out the competitive side in swimmers.

“It’s a great event, and it’s really unique,” she said.

“If the weather stays dry, it’ll be absolutely wonderful, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

If the storm clouds gather, punters are likely to head for a real ale tent, run by Steve Jenner of the Three Crowns.

Anyone who takes a festival programme to his pub on The Causeway will be given a free pint of Box Steam Tunnel Vision ale.

Mr Jenner said: “It’s a good way to support the festival, and we hope it brings some people into the pub too.”

Chippenham River Festival is on August 25 and 26, from 10am-5pm.

The River Festival Flotilla will depart from the Chippenham Sailing and Canoeing Club at 10.45am.

For details on how to get involved, or to book your place on the raft building course, visit or email Liz Boden on