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The Angel of Angel

Img_6821 One of the simple joys of living in London are the sheer number of street festivals.

Practically every spring and summer weekend, one can find a London festival celebrating everything from Chinese New Year to Indian Bollywood dancing. The best-known of these is probably the August Notting Hill Carnival, which attracts more than 1 million people. Most of the festivals are free, providing cheap entertainment in London --- as long as you avoid the overpriced food and beer vendors.

When we first moved to London two years ago (damn has it been that long?) the very first festival we attended was this little neighborhood gathering called the Angel Canal Festival.  It's basically a celebration of Regent's Canal, which runs through our neighborhood, Angel-Islington.  We missed it last year but didn't make that mistake again on Sunday.

By London festival standards, the Angel Canal Festival is small, but it still features your standard attractions like live music, a carnival ("fun fair" in Brit-Speak), a community yard sale ("table top sale" in Brit-Speak), book vendors, historical displays, a children's area, an unusual exhibit of live owls and falcons, and this odd costumed character like this Angel of Angel who glided down the sidewalk, apparently on a Segway. My favorite attraction are the parades of Pearly Kings and Queens. They are a British tradition at festivals, comprised of older men and women wearing black suits and dresses that are covered head-to-toe in mother-of-pearl button and stitched in intricate designs. 

The Two Crabs' favorite London festival takes place Sept. 15-16:  The Mayor's Thames Festival.  It's one of the largest festivals of the year, a celebration of the River Thames which divides London (figuratively and literally). The festival is nearly two-miles long, running along the South Bank of the River Thames from Tower Bridge to the London Eye.  It culminates Sunday night with an  evening illuminated parade and fireworks display. It's also a sad day because it marks the end of the London summer festival season.  But we're psyched that our buddy Blushing Whale is arriving just in time to take part in the festivities!