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MBNA Chestival prepares to unveil 2012 Midsummer Watch in Chester

DURING the last 20 days, the city has come alive with Roman invasions, street parties, giants and an outdoor cinema as MBNA Chestival 2012 has hit the streets with its exciting range of festivals, events and parades.

But with another 20 exciting days left, there’s still plenty of opportunities for all to enjoy the activities that make up Chester’s most exciting summer festival.

This weekend is bursting with activity, starting with the Midsummer Watch Parade on Saturday and Sunday.

The parade is one of Britain’s oldest and most colourful street parades dating back to 1498 when the City Guilds would put on the event for all in the city to enjoy.

More than 70,000 people are expected to line the streets of Chester to witness the spectacle, which will be led by the Summer Watch drummer and the City Guilds plus a pirate ship, a huge elephant and castle, a cupid shooting arrows, dragons, angels, the Chester ravens, unicorn, stag, hobby horses, St Werburgh, green men, camel, devil band and dancers plus many more strange and wonderful characters.

The event will start at 2pm at the Town Hall before making its way down St Werburgh Street, Eastgate Street, Bridge Street, Pepper Street, St John Street, Eastgate Street and back to the Town Hall.

Bringing the Amphitheatre alive with the mystical sounds of music will be the Chester Mystery Plays in Miniature, which will be performing Noah’s Flood on Friday at 6pm, Saturday at 1pm and 4pm and finally on Sunday at 1pm and 4pm (see separate story).

This year’s use of the cinema screen will bring a new dimension to this popular play, which will be performed for the last time at this year’s MBNA Chestival.

On Monday and Tuesday at 8pm, Chester welcomes Sony Award winning comedian Mark Steel and feminist icon Germaine Greer to the city as each will perform An Audience With... at Chester’s Town Hall.

On Monday, Mark will be bringing elements of his one man show Mark Steel’s In Town to his performance at the Town Hall. He will write comical material, shedding light on the quirkiness and interesting aspects of Chester. Tickets are £15 and can be purchased via Chester Festivals.

Hot on his heels will be journalist, reviewer and commentator Germaine Greer who will be here on Tuesday at 8pm.

Germaine will share her inside story of what enormous fun it has been to be a feminist icon through the last four decades.

She will tell her unique story with a Q&A session at the end for the audience to delve deeper into her life. Tickets are £10.

Emily Morris, acting director of Chester Festivals, said: “I can’t believe that we are already half way through MBNA Chestival this year. We have had an absolutely fantastic first half and have welcomed hundreds of thousands of people and visitors to the city already.

“MBNA Chestival continues for two final exciting weeks and includes the Chester Summer Music Festival from June 30-July 12, with the grand finale, the Vaudeville weekend from July 13-15. It’s Victorian cabaret at its very best with international artists hitting the Chester scene.

“So if you haven’t been able to come along so far, set time aside in your diaries for the next few weeks and come and see one, or all, of our magical and memorable events to be staged in Chester.”

For further information, event listings and bookings visit the website www.chesterfestivals.co.uk.