Basingstoke is set to become Hampshire’s cultural capital this summer, when the town’s creative talent is celebrated in its inaugural ‘Made in Basingstoke’ festival, a jam-packed extravaganza of events catering for all tastes and age groups.
Running from 14 July to 13 August 2017 and comprising four themed weeks entitled Create, Taste, Discover and Make, the Festival will showcase the town’s artists, foods, attractions and people through a comprehensive programme of daily activities to be staged at key attractions, shops, museums and shopping centres across the town.
We were invited by In Basingstoke to come and experience some of the create activities on show. Being a budding artist I took Megan and we enjoyed a bit of a girlie day out. Our first stop was the Paperchase stand at Festival Place, we actually stopped by twice, first to make a felt headband and have the obligatory day out face paint, and later in the day Megan made a lovely “Thank You” card for her teacher. We've not done much stamping before but I was really surprised how clean and easy the process was. Megan really enjoyed it and I'm sure this is the start of a new hobby.
Today marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen, who was born and raised in the Basingstoke area, a new bronze statue of the author, will be unveiled in the town centre. Also you can't miss the ‘Sitting with Jane’ free public arts trail featuring 24 ‘Book Benches’, each designed and painted by a different professional artist. Last month we visited Whitchurch Silk Mill for the annual Sylvanian Families Shopping Event there is a Jane Austen bench there. All the benches are beautifully crafted and painted, being 8 Megan isn't aware of Jane Austen but the benches and exhibition at called ‘Retail and Romance: Jane goes to the Ball’ at the Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery has certainly piqued her interest. I've since found out that Real Reads has re-worked many classics including “Pride and Prejudice” for children.
Whitchurch Silk Mill Bench
There are so many free museums in and around Hampshire and Dorset that we have visited. They give you a lovely snapshot of the town through the ages , The Willis Museum features 200 years of Basingstoke which Megan found hilarious especially the 60's/70's themed kitchen.
Don't be sad that you missed the create week as next comes Taste Week (21-27 July), which will feature free cookery demonstrations by celebrity chefs Phil Vickery and Jean-Christophe Novelli at The Malls Shopping Centre on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July. There will also be a Taste Market focused on local produce and businesses as well as a Jane Austen cream tea party at the Red Lion Hotel.
For more information and a full schedule of events visit www.madeinbasingstoke.co.uk