Thames Festival 2012
The Mayor's Thames Festival, to give the event its full name, will be the largest outdoor arts festival held in London in 2012. This year, the Thames Festival promises to be an extra special event, as it coincides with the closing weekend of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
As a celebration of the mighty arterial waterway, responsible for the birth of London, the Thames Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of locals. This year will be no different, but the home-grown crowd at the Thames Festival 2012 is sure to be bolstered by a strong international field of revellers - mirroring the gathering of the global village brought about by the Olympics - and it's a safe bet that the party on the banks and bridges of London's iconic river will carry on late into the night in many hotels in Kensington and other nearby areas of the city over the weekend.
The Thames Festival will take place on Saturday 8the and Sunday 9th September 2012, between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge, and is expected to draw a crowd of at least 800,000 people. As there is no charge for participating in, or watching, any of the entertainment over the weekend, the Thames Festival will easily be the largest free festival held in the capital this year.
There are a host of events taking place over the two days of this family friendly festival, which guarantees to provide something of interest for every generation. From interactive art and performances, to street entertainers and river races, the Thames Festival is always aimed at giving the summer season a spectacular send-off, whatever the weather.
Feasting is therefore an important part of the mix, with a healthy selection of food and drink on offer, to keep everyone fuelled throughout the day, and into the evening.
Like any good party, music and dance will be at the heart of the festivities throughout the weekend, and they will form the backbone of the Sunday night climax of the event. The illuminated Night Carnival starts at 7.15pm on Upper Ground, and this colourful procession of approximately 25 carnival and street theatre groups will then cross Blackfriars Bridge and head left onto the suitably spacious Victoria Embankment - this will be the best location to get a good view of the spectacle.
A massive fireworks display will then be shot up into the air from a barge located between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges, providing a flamboyant display that will offer an excellent opportunity to get some atmospheric photos of the fun.
If you will be staying in London hotels to see the finale of the Paralympic Games, or simply fancy being part of a huge party, the Thames Festival 2012 promises to be a celebration of multi-cultural London, and the Olympic spirit of international friendship.