Get your Herald freebies at the Stratford River Festival

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THE River Festival – one of Stratford-upon-Avon’s most popular events – will be held this weekend for a ninth year.

The two-day festival, which will this year be subject to increased security measures, is set to attract around 60,000 visitors to Stratford’s Recreation Ground.

And the Herald will be there again, giving away free bottles of water and Cafe Rouge pastries to people who buy a copy of the paper.

Inside there’s all the latest news, arts and sport – and a chance to WIN a night’s stay and beauty package at the Welcombe Hotel.

Festival-goers are being asked to co-operate with additional security arrangements, brought in following the recent tragic incidents around the country.

The additional security measures will include extra specialist staff, including dog handlers, and random bag searches.

More than 100 boats are expected to be moored up on the Avon along with an array of entertainment from live music and food and drink to a fabulous fireworks display on the Saturday night.

This year soul band Kinky Farnham return as headliners on the main stage, the Bandstand, along with TRADarrr.

Other acts will include the local soul duo Wilson Wright, Cotswolds-based folk group Brimstone, KES trio The Mannequins and a showcase by Stratford Music Centre.

Harpist Jasmin Earnshaw will host a Celtic Harp Workshop, giving people the chance to have a go on the unusual instrument, while light-footed visitors can join in with Shakespeare Morris and try their hand at Morris dancing.

Local drummer Bo Davies will be hosting a drumming workshop, with those involved getting a feel for the spotlight, performing the results of their labours in front of the Bandstand before the headline act on Sunday.

There will also be a Town Centre Treasure Trail, organised by the Magic Alley.

The forms for The Great Stratford River Festival Treasure Hunt will be available at the River Festival and will take participants around the town and to local businesses picking up clues. There will be prizes available for those that take part and enter.

Charities will be setting up camp in a Volunteer Village, between the bowling club and bandstand, raising awareness and looking for recruits.

Among them will be Stratford Foodbank, Welcombe Radio, WCAVA, Safeline, Stratford District Scouts, Tyler House Community Hub, Citizens’ Advice South Warwickshire, Heart of England Mencap, Springfield Mind and the Guild Chapel.

All will be running interactive games and activities from their stands – from art activities to a monopoly marathon – while raising awareness for their charities and engaging with local people who may be willing to volunteer their time in a whole variety of roles.

Staff and Trustees from Stratford Town Trust, which awards more than £2million each year to support schools, charities, projects and individuals across Stratford, will also be on hand to answer questions about the Trust and provide information about volunteering in the Guild Chapel.

Pick up a copy of next week’s Herald for a four-page picture special – look out for our photographers who will be out and about all weekend.