Top Five Whacky Events in Wales 2014
Every Sunday on the August Bank Holiday weekend, year after year, one event in Mid Wales invariably makes the news headlines - the World Bog Snorkelling Championship! This must rank in the Top Five Whacky Events of the year - not just in Wales but the whole of the UK for the amount of media attention that it gets.
Held in the smallest town in Britain, Llanwrtyd Wells is south-west of Builth Wells. The World Championships take place in a 60 yard long trench dug into a dense peat bog on the outskirts of town; participants have to finish two lengths of this trench wearing snorkels and flippers but must not use any conventional swimming strokes. The 2013 event included competitors from Canada, Australia and South Africa; the date for 2014 is Sunday 24 August.
Runners trying to race a train does seem like a rather one-sided event but the train is hauled by one of the Talyllyn Railway’s narrow gauge steam engines and it doesn’t go very fast! Hundreds of runners will be competing over a 16 mile multi - terrain course to try and beat the train from Tywyn on the Cambrian Coast up into the hills to Abergynolwyn - and back. The Rotary Clubs' Race The Train Event 2014 will take place on Saturday 16 August. Both the snorkelling and the race the train events have had world-wide TV coverage but our third event is actually about a TV series.
Festival No.6 takes place in North Wales from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th September at Portmeirion, where filming was done for The Prisoner, a 17-episode British cult TV series that was first broadcast way back in 1967/8. Starring and co-created by Patrick McGoohan, it combined “spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory, and psychological drama”; ‘Festival No 6’ doesn’t refer to this being the sixth festival; all characters in The Prisoner were assigned numbers and No 6 was McGoohan’s.
Multiple sightings of Elvis can be expected in the South Wales resort of Porthcawl between 25 and 28 September as these are the dates for ‘the largest Elvis event in Europe’. Official shows for this Elvis Festival take place in the Grand Pavilion and over twenty venues in and around the town form a Fringe Festival with over 100 shows over the weekend, many with free admission.
The opening of the Welshpool Country & Music Festival will see around a hundred Westerners in traditional costume march down the hill to music with guns blazing - a note on the organiser’s web site does say ‘replica pistols only please!’ The Festival will be held in a 150’ x 50’ marquee in the National Trust run grounds of Powis Castle, a mile or so from Welshpool.
See Wales Holidays pages on Festivals and Events for more information on these and other more normal Events in Wales!