The river will be lit up with a spectacle of lights for the Henley Illuminated Boat Parade taking place on Saturday 24 September.
Chris Taylor is bringing this new event to the Henley calendar after recently moving to Henley. He started and organised the Illuminated Parade in Cookham in 2015, which quickly became very popular, with the last parade being watched by hundreds of spectators, until halted by Covid restrictions.
The parade is open to all boats of all ages and sizes. The parade will start at Fawley Meadows and go up to Henley Bridge and then do another circuit before mooring up on the Leander Club side of the river. Viewing is free for all spectators along New Street and the towpath, and the Leander Club is opening its doors to the public to its gardens and the clubhouse where food and drink will be on sale. There will be a prize-giving followed by a live band.
The event is for the benefit of The Rivertime Trust and The Henley Royal Regatta Foundation, both charities help to get under-privileged, disabled and disadvantaged children and adults involved with the activities on the river. All the money from the boat entries will go to these charities.
Chris said, “I started the event originally in Cookham to have a fun, informal event to do in the evening and there we had the Bounty pub which was an obvious finishing place. To start with in Cookham we had 15 boats but by the end we had 40 boats and about 500-800 spectators on the banks. It just turned into lovely family event.”
“The response so far has been amazingly well received. The first year, I will be funding all of the infrastructure. We’re hoping to have at least 30 boats. The Henley Royal Regatta, the Leander Club and the Environment Agency have been overwhelming in their enthusiasm and help with the event. Henley Town Council has also said they love the idea! We’ve also got agreement to light up the houses along the route from Phyllis Court to Relais Henley plus a light projector on Leander Club.”
Spectators are also invited to come lit up too and there will be a prize for the best dressed.
You can decorate your boat in any design or theme. To register your boat go to https://www.illuminatedparade.com/register-for-events