Five things to do this weekend in the Cotswolds (July 5-6)

The Eynsham Shirt Race / Photo: Ian White

The Eynsham Shirt Race / Photo: Ian White - Credit: Archant

It’s almost the weekend, but what to do? Here are five suggestions from us to you

Nicola Benedetti will be performing at The Cheltenham Music Festival 2014

Nicola Benedetti will be performing at The Cheltenham Music Festival 2014 - Credit: Archant

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You might have thought the Cotswold eccentricity was over for the year after the cheese rolling, woolsack racing and the Cotswold Olimpicks (many a shin was bruised). But there’s still the Eynsham Shirt Race, during which competitors in fancy-dress race from pub-to-pub in bespoke and bizarre vehicles of their own creation, downing half a pint at each ‘pit stop’ (details below).

This - and four other events - form our five recommendations for how to spend this weekend in the Cotswolds...

Cheltenham Music Festival, Cheltenham

July 2-13

Established in 1945, the Cheltenham Music Festival has become a local and national favourite. Across the twelve days of the event, you can expect a programme of grand concerts in Cheltenham Town Hall, intimate musical adventures in the Pittville Pump Room, and atmospheric performances in cathedrals, abbeys and churches across the region.

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With over 60 events and 650 performers annually, Cheltenham Music Festival hopes to celebrate the very best contemporary composition alongside a feast of popular classics, with a strong leaning towards the classical genre. Notable acts performing include Nicola Benedetti, The John Wilson Orchestra with Matthew Ford, Michael Morpurgo with a cappella trio Coope, Boyes & Simpson, New Opera, classical guitarist Miloš Karadagli? and many more. This year will also feature performances of Holst’s seminal work The Planets, Op. 32, to mark the centenary of its creation by the Cheltenham-born composer.

For more information and to book tickets, visit: www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/music

Midsummer Fiesta, Cheltenham

July 5

Just a short walk away from many of the Cheltenham Music Festival venues this weekend, the Midsummer Fiesta will be taking place in Montpellier Gardens. The free family-friendly event showcases the talents of the Cheltenham community.

This year, highlights include: 80 market stalls from arts and crafts to food, jewellery and more, circus skills and freerunning displays, classic cars, face painting, bouncy castles, live music from The Coronettes and plenty more.

For more information, visit: www.midsummerfiesta.com

Eynsham Carnival, Eynsham

July 5

The Eynsham Carnival is one of the oldest carnivals in the country, and will be returning this Saturday for its 68th year.

The centerpiece of the annual carnival is the parade; around midday the decorated floats arrive in the village car park, where they are joined by entrants for the fancy dress categories, by the marching bands and by any of the classic vehicles wishing to take part in the Parade.

Other attractions include Sir Aurelious Jones and the animatronic wonder Epico the Dragon, Black Rock Llamas, The City of Coventry Corps of Drums, Charlie the Clown, the Old Mini & Motorcycle Display, Magic Show, Punch & Judy, Crazy Golf, Go Karts, Hatwells Funfair and Eynsham Morris dancers.

Oh, and let’s not forget the eccentric Eynsham Shirt Race, first run in 1958. On carnival day, the brave and feckless assemble in fancy dress, each team armed with a non-motorised vehicle, designed, engineered and built to last the seven furlongs. The two-person teams ‘run’ the seven furlongs, which just so happen to feature seven pubs along the way - each team swaps pusher and vehicle rider after every quick half-pint in the pubs en route. The first team to reach the White Hart pub is crowned victorious!

For more information, visit: www.eynshamcarnival.com

The Cornbury Festival, Chipping Norton

July 4-6

If the Cheltenham Music Festival is a little traditional for your taste, but you still have a hankering for live music, you may want to attend The Cornbury Festival.

Their website proudly declares: “The Cornbury Music Festival is one-of-a-kind: an eclectic and eccentric musical carnival – a dynamic summer festival disguised as a country fayre – a lovingly crafted, top notch, very English open air party, tailor-made for the whole family.”

The three-day festival line up includes:

Friday: Hudson Taylor, The Feeling, Suzanne Vega, Arrested Development, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Jools Holland with special guests ex-Spicer Melanie C, and Soft Cell’s Marc Almond.

Saturday: Jon Allen, Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes featuring Gary US Bonds, Nina Nesbitt, Lissie, Kacey Musgraves, Scouting for Girls and Simple Minds.

Sunday: The Gipsy Kings, X Factor 2013 winner Sam Bailey and finalist Luke Friend, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Tomoyasu Hotei and Peatbog Faeries.

To book tickets, visit the Box Office: www.bookingsdirect.com or call 0844 338 0000

For more about the Cornbury Festival, visit: www.cornburyfestival.com

The Cotswold Show and Food Festival, Cirencester

July 5-6

The Cotswold Show and Food Festival 2014 in Cirencester will feature more than 100 food trade stands, falconry displays, shooting, dog shows, pig handling, polo and a Shetland Pony Grand National, among other events.

The food festival is a new addition to the annual show. Supported by BITE in association with The Cotswold Table and Taste of the West, there will be a large marquee full of food and drink stands featuring jams and hams, pasties and pies, cakes and cheeses and much more.

Other events include the BASC Taste of Game campaign, encouraging people to try eating and preparing game, and interactive cookery demonstrations by Cirencester-based Relish, including cake decoration for all the family to get involved in.

For more information, visit: www.cotswoldshow.co.uk