Wearside ready for Sunderland Festival

Chairman of Sunderland Live, Peter Walker launches the Festival at Herrington Country Park with the help of organisers, Nicola Vincent, Michelle Whittle and Laura Young.
Chairman of Sunderland Live, Peter Walker launches the Festival at Herrington Country Park with the help of organisers, Nicola Vincent, Michelle Whittle and Laura Young.
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FUN with a capital F is the theme of the weekend as this year’s Sunderland Festival kicks off in musical style tonight.

Thousands of Wearsiders are expected to head to Herrington Country Park for 48 hours of events, activities and shows.

An open-air screening of Mamma Mia gets the weekend celebrations under way tonight.

Tomorrow is activities day, with an array of demonstrations and sporting events, from cycling and dancing to American football and boxing.

One of the big highlights is expected to be the Sunderland Rally Experience, which sees some of the country’s leading rally drivers showing off their skills from 10.30am.

Houghton archers, Speedcage Football and tag rugby demonstrations will also be taking place throughout the day.

At 3pm there will be a free screening of Sunderland AFC’s 1973 FA Cup final game. Premium tickets are available for £10 (£5 for under-14s) and include a deckchair for seating.

Geoff Anderson, 43, is planning to take son Daniel, 12, to the screening. He said: “I don’t know who’s more excited, Daniel or me. We’re hoping the rain holds off and there is a good atmosphere.”

Sunday is family day with a series of arts and crafts, as well as outdoor games like giant chess and jenga.

The Festival comes after the official launch of Sunderland Live’s Partner Programme which aims to develop and enhance the city’s events programme over the coming years.

Formerly part of Sunderland City Council, Sunderland Live was established to build on events like this weekend’s festival and the city’s International Airshow. The Echo is one of company’s official partners.

John Szymanski, Echo editor, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in something which aims to make Sunderland the place to go for events and activities.

“The city already has a packed summer programme, and we look forward to help building on this.

“Anything which brings more people into the city and boosts the economy can only be a good thing.”

For more information go to sunderlandlive.co.uk.