Looking for something to do this weekend? There's a bumper line-up of events taking place right across Dorset and the New Forest - here's our pick of the best...
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Wondering if it will be a sunny weekend? The Met Office says there will be a mix of sunny spells and showers on Saturday but it will turn cloudy with rain later. Rain clearing through Sunday to leave drier and brighter conditions by Monday.
1. Start your weekend with a bang
Friday night fireworks return with a bang to Bournemouth tonight. The Friday Family Fiesta event will run every Friday until August 22 and will start at 6pm with fire performances, circus workshops and even stilt walkers as the town celebrates the summer season. Then at 10pm the skies will be lit up by a double firework display, sponsored by the Coastal Activity Park, which will see Bournemouth and Boscombe piers simultaneously illuminated.
2. Steam along to Swanage Railway's 35 Gala
Swanage Railway celebrates its 35th anniversary this weekend with a special gala. The commemorative ‘Swanage 35’ gala takes place over the railway’s five-and-a-half miles of re-laid line. Steam enthusiasts will have the chance to travel on service trains hauled by the scratch built A1 Pacific steam locomotive ‘Tornado’ during the two-day event.
3. Cheer on the cheerleaders
Pom poms at the ready – the biggest cheer and dance event in Europe is coming to Bournemouth this weekend. The International Cheer and Dance Championships takes place at the BIC and will see will see stunts and tricks galore on display.
4. Wrap your ears around some jazz in Swanage
The 25th Swanage Jazz Festival kicks off today and will see more than 50 bands play the event which takes place in various venues around the town. The traditional jazz programme is headlined by Keith Nichols’ Blue Devils, playing the early big band music of Duke Ellington. Other acts set to perform include Magnificent Seven, Amy Roberts, Arun Ghosh, Stephanie Trick and Ben Holder. Two marquees will be on Sandpit Field, while other venues include the Methodist Church and The Conservative Club. There will also be free performances at The Red Lion, The Crows Nest, The Old Stone Quay, British Legion and on the seafront.
5. Dig into history at Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle will be taking part in the national Festival of Archaeology, which kicks off on Saturday. The castle’s own answer to Time Team will be on hand as archaeologists dig in the West Bailey and the Inner Ward. Meet the experts, watch them at work and ask questions. There will also be a family trail every day and a variety of different living history displays and hands on activities.
6. Celebrate diversity at the Bourne Free festival
Bournemouth’s most colourful event kicks off tonight with a screening of The Sound of Music and live performances by Madonna, Lady Gaga & Rihanna tribute acts in the Triangle Arena. Then on Saturday there will be a parade starting at 11am from the centre of Bournemouth, entertainment and stalls in the Lower Gardens from 12.30pm to 4.30pm, plus performances by Mischa B, Damage and Kimberley Wyatt from the Pussycat Dolls. On Sunday in the Triangle Arena, the local Metropolitan Community Church provide an open air service for all, no age restrictions are in force and this is free to attend between 12noon and 2pm.
7. Soak up the sounds at Grooves on the Green
The popular two-day Ashley Cross festival celebrates its 14th year and will offer something for all ages with bands performing across two stages, real ales and ciders, a kids play zone featuring a bungee run, stalls and a colour maze.
8. See the floats at Upton Carnival
Floats of all shapes and sizes will parade through Upton when the annual carnival takes place on Saturday. The procession will leave Factory Road at 1pm and is set to arrive at the recreation ground at around 2.15pm where there will also be live bands, childrens’ entertainment, stalls and demonstrations until 6pm.
9. Have a splashing time at the Bournemouth Pier to Pier swim
The biggest charity swim in Europe returns to Bournemouth on Sunday. Hundreds of people will take part in the 1.4mile Bournemouth Pier to Pier Swim to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation. Starting from Bournemouth Pier, swimmers will put their front stroke to the test in this challenging sea swim along the coastline to Boscombe Pier. Registration is now closed.
10. Enjoy a taste of Thailand in Christchurch
Thailand comes to the Quomps in Christchurch with the two-day Amazing Thailand Festival. Explore the diverse culture of Thailand through Thai foods and crafts, traditional Thai dance and music, Thai boxing, a beauty pageant and more.
11. Go star-spotting at the Sandbanks Beach Polo Championships
Expect to see ponies put through their paces and the odd celeb or two as The Asahi British Beach Polo Championships get underway today. Thousands are expected to flock to the two-day event in Sandbanks, which is now in its seventh year.
12. Watch the wacky races in Ringwood
35 teams, two hours of nonstop racing and a whole lot of fun. Wacky races comes to Ringwood on Sunday when the 27th annual Pedal Car Grand Prix takes place. Work mates, families, friends, youth groups and businesses will be hoping the cobbles and corners of the Market Square won’t break the cars many have made with their own hands, in garages and sheds around the area. The parade lap starts at 1.20pm and the race kicks off at 2pm.
Picture taken with assistance of Bournemouth Helicopters
13. Brownsea Island swim
More than 250 brave souls will take part in the 6.5km Brownsea Island swim in Poole Harbour, which has been organised by RLSS Poole Lifeguard.
14. Sample fishy delights at Dorset Seafood Festival
Calling all fish lovers! Dorset’s famous Seafood Festival takes place this weekend. The annual event is on 10.30am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 5.30pm Sunday on Weymouth harbourside. The programme includes a Fish Auction is aid of the Fishermen’s Mission, a ‘Ready, Steady Fillet’ show and a host of talks by top chefs.