Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 14.50.24THINK you know Middlesbrough inside out?

If so, the popular annual Discover Middlesbrough festival may have a few surprises in store when it returns later this month.

The 2015 programme is officially launched on Friday (October 9), offering an open invitation to explore, experience and enjoy everything the town has to offer.

From Friday, October 16 to Saturday, October 31, all are welcome to Discover Middlesbrough, from its well-known attractions to its hidden gems.

There’s something for everyone, from newcomers to curious locals looking to enjoy everything from art and literature to the great outdoors.

The festival continues to grow every year, and now boasts a greater variety of events than ever before accessible on foot, and some by cycling and even running.

There are also more interactive events enabling people to get creative, share memories and get out and about – alongside exhibitions and displays for those looking for a more leisurely experience.

For the inquisitive there are rare chances to take a peek behind doors that are normally closed off to the public – including a magical history bus tour of secret locations on Saturday, October 24. Be sure to book early as the bus ride is almost always fully subscribed.

It is a fortnight when the spotlight is shared between municipal museums and galleries and the activities of voluntary groups that look after many of our heritage buildings and green open spaces.

The many skilled local historians and keen amateur tour guides join with professionals to bring a wider appreciation of Middlesbrough’s heritage, culture and leisure.

The 2015 two-week festival will be kicked off in spectacular style on Friday, October 16 with a large nocturnal gathering in centre square when the message is Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

There will also be the chance to grab an unforgettable night time view over Middlesbrough from the top of the Transporter Bridge.

On Saturday, October 17, why not join in an attempt to cycle the distance between Whitby and Durham – all in the safe surroundings of the Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit?

The newly opened Middlesbrough’s Sports Village will also open its doors Thursday, October 29 giving runners and walkers of all ages and abilities the chance to take to the running track for a free Smile Mile.

Last year’s popular Art Weekend returns on Saturday, October 24 when artists will throw open the doors to their studios and invite visitors to take a look inside. The more energetic can join in an Art Run starting at mima and joining up the open studios.

Throughout the fortnight mima will be hosting its own Localism festival, give local residents a chance to share their own history of art in the town.

On Wednesday, October 21 and Thursday, October 22 there’s an opportunity to go behind the scenes at the at William Lane Foundry, the last of its kind in the town’s ironmaster district and recently featured on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys.

Discover Middlesbrough 2015 draws to a close on Saturday, October 31 with a chance to take a special trail around central Middlesbrough to find out about the town’s unsung heroines, its Hidden Women.

Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Discover Middlesbrough is a chance to celebrate Middlesbrough’s fantastic history and heritage, as well as its thriving contemporary cultural scene.

“Every year we look to find new and innovative ways to showcase the great things on our doorstep, and this year’s festival looks set to be the best yet.

“It’s a golden opportunity to take a closer look at the things we treasure but perhaps take for granted, but also to discover some of the gems that may have passed us by.

“The 2015 programme is a true feast of events, exhibitions, talks and walks that I know will appeal both to local people and those who are new to the town.”

Discover Middlesbrough is presented by Middlesbrough Council’s Festival and Events Team and co-ordinated by Tracy Hyman and Robert Nichols.

Discover Middlesbrough festival programmes are now available from venues across Middlesbrough, including libraries, community hubs, museums, Middlesbrough Town Hall, Middlesbrough FC and the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre.

Digital versions can also be viewed at

http://issuu.com/lovemiddlesbrough/docs/discover_middlesbrough_2015

Follow Discover Middlesbrough on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Discovermiddlesbrough and on Twitter at @discovermbro

For more information, contact the Council’s Festivals and Events team on 01642 729085