This year’s free Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Festival, which is supported by Telford and Wrekin Council, is a particularly special occasion for the team at Merrythought as it coincides with this famous company’s 85th anniversary. In fact, the festival falls just a few days after the Merrythought teddy bear factory was first officially established on 10th September 1930, with traditional teddy bear making continuing to be at the heart of Merrythought Village today.
The festival, which is running from 12noon to 5pm, will offer high quality craft and food market, live street entertainment and family activities. Merrythought will be unveiling the new-look teddy bear shop at Merrythought Village following a refurbishment. As part of the celebrations the shop offers an event exclusive, limited edition teddy bear, along with displays of beautiful handmade teddy bears dating from the 1930s through to today. There will be something for all the family to enjoy, from competitions to free teddy bear-themed cupcakes!
Visitors to Ironbridge will also have the opportunity to meet ‘GORDON’ the ‘real life’ Merrythought teddy bear who will be walking around the town throughout the day and giving out free gift vouchers - so do make sure you stop and say hello.
In addition to the Merrythought teddy bear shop, there will be a wide range of other businesses at Merrythought Village that will be joining in the Heritage Festival celebrations by offering special attractions during the day. Ironbridge Fine Arts & Framing are judging the art competition with the winning piece being displayed in the Telford and Wrekin offices. Further activities include an art exhibition, antiques, arts and crafts stalls, river boat trips and refreshments in the Riverside Tea Room. The Cooperative will also be running a special open-air stall. Visitors are encouraged to visit Merrythought Village and enjoy the site and its beautiful surroundings along the River Severn.
Due to Merrythought Village offering event stands on the car park, this will mean the Merrythought Village car park is going to be closed on Saturday, 19th September. There will also be road closures in central Ironbridge and car parks will be for festival permit holders only, all visitors should use the fast and frequent Ironbridge Park and Ride Service that operates from the top of Jiggers Bank (Sat Nav TF4 3QE) into the heart of the event for a small fee. Station Road car park in Ironbridge will be available for accessible parking only.
The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has been commissioned by Telford & Wrekin Council to manage the Festival on their behalf.