Historic carnival to roar back to life with Dragon Boat race and festival

Representatives of the organisations running and taking part in the dragon race and craft fair at Hetton Lyons Country Park.
Picture Jane Coltman
Representatives of the organisations running and taking part in the dragon race and craft fair at Hetton Lyons Country Park. Picture Jane Coltman
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A historic carnival will spring back to life with a roar next month.

New life will be breathed into Hetton Carnival after events company Events2gogo have teamed up with Rotary North East England to create the Hetton Dragon Boat Race and Summertime Festival.

Organisers are hoping to bring the colourful community spirit of Hetton Carnival, which ran from the ‘70s to the early 2000s, back to the field at Hetton Lyons Country Park with the event.

Taking place on July 31, it will see up to 20 teams competing on the lake in the Dragon Boat Race, which follows on from the success of last year’s race hosted by the Rotary Club.

Highlights will also include performances from local bands Dennis and Picnic, as well as music from community groups and clubs. Family fun will also include dozens of street and artisan food stalls, plus craft and community stalls, a go kart Grand Prix, carnival rides, bouncy castle, face painting and treasure hunt.

Fiona Harnett of Events2gogo, which also stages the monthly art and craft fair at the Hetton Centre, said: “We’d been chatting on a facebook forum that we really needed something for the community and someone suggested that it would be great to bring Hetton Carnival back so we decided to do it.

“The response so far has been amazing, people are really excited about it coming back. Working alongside the Rotary Club, we really feel like we’ve created something for the whole community.

“It was a great honour to have Dennis agree to come and perform, as they are launching their new album. They have massive following. Together with Picnic,

they will be showcasing some very special local talent.”

She added: “The Dragon Race was a new event to Hetton last year but it proved really popular so we decided to stage it together with a summertime festival. “It’s so important to keep community traditions alive. We also work closely with Houghton Feast through our craft market at Rainton Meadows.

“Our print business, Events2gogo is based in Houghton and we feel really strongly about the communities of Houghton and Hetton working together.”

Fiona, who is working alongside Fiona Swan of the North East England Rotary Group for the event, added: “Hetton Lyons Country Park is a hidden gem in the North East and, fingers crossed, we’ll have some sunshine. We’ve pulled together as many local resources as possible to make this a huge success and the first of many more to follow.”

•Entry and parking to the event is free and dogs are welcome. For more information visit www.events2gogo.com or visit the events Facebook page by searching ‘The Hetton Dragonboat race and summertime Festival.’ Teams are still being accepted into the Dragon Boat Race. Any teams interested in entering can contact

Nihad Cehic on Tel. 0191 500 5163 or 07976 065053.