Ooh! La! La! Le Weekend Celebrates Multiculturalism in Sandwich
Sandwich went French for three days for Le Weekend - a celebration of Sandwich's ties with the town of Honfleur.
Le Weekend started on Friday with a Champagne dinner at the Bell Hotel, with special guest Thomas Jorez of De Castelnau Champagne, who gave a talk on the characteristics of Champagne that makes it so special.
The Guildhall forecourt played host to an authentic Normandy Market all day Saturday and Sunday. Organisers, 'France at Home' brought with them foods, cheeses, soaps, leathers, clothing, and all the sights, sounds and smells of a genuine French Market. Market Street played host to a free outdoor French 'Theatre de Music' with music from 'Les Troubadours de Paris' and an open-air Cafe on Saturday and Sunday. There were also more market stalls selling souvenirs, food and craft-work.
La Balade was where classic cars met French Style on Saturday and Sunday, and car owners gathered on the Quay Green for a continental breakfast on both days. On Saturday the cars took a short road run to the Spitfire Museum, returning to Sandwich for a riverside picnic and enjoyment of the > many other French themed activities. On Sunday after breakfast the cars departed on a grand tour of around 45 miles, visiting places of interest and returning to the Quay for prize-giving for the best car, and an opportunity to enjoy the other festivities. Also on the green was a family fun area of amusements for the children.
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Le Tour de Sandwich on Saturday, now in its third year, was a 100k, 75k or 50k cycle ride around the beautiful East Kent countryside starting on The Quay in Sandwich and heading to Canterbury on National Cycle Route 1. On Sunday there was Le Petit Tour, a 10k cycle ride for Mums, Dads and children with a medals awarded to all under 14-year-old participants.
Other attractions included a two day Street Boules competition at The Fleur Pub in Delf Street which was open to all; a 'Moules, Frites et Folk' concert at the Kings Arms with music from Fiddlefit and the Sandwich Concert Band Sax Players, and a special meal of mussels and chips; The Honfleur Cafe Bar in the Guildhall Meeting Room; and music from the Allen Family Band at The Crispin and The Gypsy Swing Band at the St Mary's Arts Centre.
Le Weekend finished on Sunday with a grand send off of the ship Matthew with live music from Rough Musicke. The visit of the ship to the town comes after being in a premier position at the Thames Jubilee Regatta on 3rd June. The ship was positioned at Tower Bridge, where Her Majesty disembarked after the 1000 ship regatta, and Sandwich is The Matthew's first port of call en route to Cornwall.
Le Weekend was just one of a long line of events planned for the town over the coming months, including The Medieval Fayre this weekend; The Folk and Ale Festival in July, The Forties Festival, The Sandwich Festival and the Summer Carnival in August, and the Christmas Lights Parade in November. For more information log onto http://www.sandwichevents.org.uk/calendar-sandwich-events.shtml.