Charlton Lido is to play host to what its organisers say will be Britain’s first festival in a lido next month – promising mermaid displays and synchronised swimming demos as well as fancy dress competitions and swim races.
Lidofest, to take place on Saturday 21 August, will also offer free swimming classes for ticket holders as well as DJs and a guest appearance from Alice Dearing, who will be representing Team GB in the marathon swimming race at the Tokyo Olympics.
Clare Ruby, who came up with the idea, said it came to her while doing lengths at the lido one morning. “The lido is such a great space but a lot of swimming events are about doing competitive challenges and I felt a need for something that celebrates all the fun stuff you can do in the water as well as those events,” she said.
“Charlton is perfect for this as it has the main 50-metre heated pool, a splash pool for the kids, terraces for viewing and lots of space for activities. Swimming outdoors at a lido always feels special and it is great to see so many of these beautiful outdoor pools having a resurgence and getting the love they deserve.”
Clare and her Lidofest co-creator Sophie Morgan – who run Swimadelica, an online gift shop for swimmers – say the swimming sessions are part of their ambition to make the activity accessible to all. “We believe swimming is for everyone regardless of your age, ability, race, gender or body shape,” she said.
“There’s something for everyone, from fancy dress competitions, festival glitter face painting, book readings, inflatable races, masters swim coaching, mermaid swimming lessons, synchro displays, swimming with professional mermaids – all for both adults and children.”
10 per cent of profits from the event will go to the Black Swimming Association, which aims to improve diversity in aquatics, and Level Water, which provides one-to-one swimming lessons for children with disabilities; a pay-it-forward option will give ticket-buyers the chance to buy a ticket for someone who would otherwise be unable to attend.
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