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Top five things to do in Gloucestershire this weekend

Whatever you have planned this weekend, make sure at least one of these is on your list.

1# Enjoy the sound of blues throughout Gloucester's best venues 

Gloucester City Centre will be alive with the sound of blues for nine days starting on Saturday July 27, running until Sunday August 4.

The long-running, free Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival is a highlight of Gloucester's Summer of Music, Arts and Culture and features a blend of international and UK acts.

Grainne Duffy from County Monaghan, Ireland will be on the Greyfriars Stage at Café René. Grainne and her band have been touring extensively with concerts in Europe, Thailand, Norway, Canada, and Morocco.

Firm festival favourites Wille And The Bandits, Innes Sibun, Steve Browning, Keith Thompson, The Foregate Blues Band, Oliver Darling, Memphis, and Luke Doherty are part of this year's extensive line-up.

The Station Hotel and The Tall Ship will be hosting special preview gigs on Friday 26 July with Jason & Val and D.B. Smith respectively. All venues hosting music are a short walk from the centre.

To find out more, visit https://gloucesterblues.wordpress.com/.

2# Diesel power will reign supreme on the GWSR 

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway's (GWSR) annual Heritage Diesel Gala and the ever-popular Bus Rally join forces this year - offering a colourful variety of action on both road and rail.

The Heritage Diesel Gala (July 26-28) transports visitors back to the immediate post-steam era when British Rail ran diesel locomotive-hauled trains throughout the UK - a sight that has now largely disappeared from the national network as electric, hybrid and multiple-unit trains take over.

The railway will be running no fewer than eight locomotives including visiting class 50 no. 50035 Ark Royal which is normally based on the Severn Valley Railway and appears by courtesy of the Class 50 Alliance.

Sunday July 28 will see the railway's annual Bus Rally taking place at Toddington station when up to 30 vehicles are expected to attend, from the early 1950s to relatively recent examples.

The event is bound to trigger as much nostalgia as the Diesel Gala as visitors 'of a certain age' remember when they used buses to get to work, college or school - or enjoyed days out during the glorious days of coach travel.

A timetable for each day that includes the locomotive allocations, can be downloaded from the event pages on www.gwsr.com.

3# Sample the world on a plate at the Gloucester Quays Food Festival 

A slice of Gloucestershire food and drink will be served up alongside culinary delights from across the globe at the Gloucester Quays Food Festival next week.

Local producers from all over the region will be among more than 120 stallholders at the free event which is the largest of its kind in the South West.

Artisan breads made a stone's throw from the festival and ciders and beer produced just down the road will be on offer alongside street food from Thailand, Greece, Spain and Tibet.

Gloucester Quays Food Festival takes place from Friday July 26th to Sunday July 28th and also features cooking demonstrations from chefs such as Rosemary Shrager, Phil Vickery and Dean Edwards.

There will also be live music and DJs on across the weekend until 8pm on Friday and Saturday and 4pm on Sunday.

4# Get creative in the sun at Taurus Crafts 

A summer holiday bursting with creative activity is being lined up at Taurus Crafts, a creative visitor centre based near Lydney.

Taurus Crafts is part of Camphill Village Trust and here you can see arts and crafts, discover your own creativity, meet artisan makers, shop for distinctive gifts, attend special events or simply relax and unwind in the café, all while supporting people with learning disabilities.

This summer holiday Taurus Crafts has an activity programme the whole family can enjoy together. Highlights include: slime making, stone carving, mini dens, cupcakes, bug hotels, magic shows, creature wings, pot throwing, gold panning, reptile encounters, and puppets.

For more information, visit Taurus Crafts' website at www.tauruscrafts.co.uk and its Facebook page www.facebook.com/TaurusCrafts/ to discover all the creative opportunities on offer this summer or follow on twitter @tauruscrafts.

5# A memorable evening of sparkling entertainment is in store at Tetbury Goods Shed

Invoking the elegance of the great jazz era, Manteca seamlessly fuse hot gypsy jazz and elements of cool jazz funk to create a broad canvas of fascinating and wonderful original music.

Silky smooth vocals and rich saxophone tones combine flawlessly with a super cool keyboard and tasteful guitar licks so what emerges is a stylish blend of humour, sophistication, and warmth creating a fresh and intriguing jazz sound.

Manteca skilfully weaves every musical strand into an exhilarating and enchanting performance full of pizzazz, offering the audience a memorable evening of sparkling entertainment.

Advance tickets for this dazzling performance cost just £11. On the door on the night they will cost £12.50.

For more information and to book tickets, go to https://shed-arts.co.uk/event/manteca-jazz-trio/.

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