Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 11.58.55An ingenious summer of fun is on the way for Darlington as a packed programme of events and activities has been unveiled.

The summer events will include something for everyone, with everything from challenging cycle rides, road runs and fun runs for the more active to outdoor musical performances, arts festival, the community carnival and family fun days.

The fun has already kicked off with the first of a series of cycle rides and the Race For Life, which raises money for Cancer Research UK, on Sunday (5 June) and later this month the ever popular St Teresa’s Hospice Midnight Walk will return to the South Park on Friday 17 June. Participants should meet at the South Park Café at 11pm. For more information call 01325 254321.

This year’s Community Carnival, in aid of Growing Older Living in Darlington (GOLD), will take place in the town centre onSaturday 25 June, when the theme will be animals and endangered species. The parade leaves the Market Square at noon and will make its way to Stanhope Park where there will be lots of family entertainment including music and charity stalls.

The following day, Sunday 26 June, 3-5pm, Proms in the Park will return to the South Park Bandstand for a great, outdoor musical event led by The Royal Signals (Northern) Band along with local and regional bands.

July will see two more challenging cycle rides, on 3 and 31 July, and there will be a colourful Mass Dance performance in the Market Square on Saturday 2 July, 1-2pm followed by another popular outdoor music concert, Our Big Gig, at South Park Bandstand on Sunday 3 July 1-4.30pm.

Among the highlights of this year’s programme will be the Festival of Ingenuity, Friday 8 and Saturday 9 July in the Market Square and Dolphin Centre. This will be a celebration of ingenious businesses in Darlington and will include entertainment and attractions for the whole family to enjoy. More information can be found online at www.onedarlington.org.uk/festival-of-ingenuity/ or you can email eventsteam@darlington.gov.uk for details.

The Head of Steam railway museum will be hosting a Summer Fun Sunday on 17 July, 10am-4pm, when there will be a host of entertainment for the whole family. Entry will be just £1 per person, while under 5s and family members go free. For information about Head of Steam and its wide range of events call 01325 405060, log onto the website at www.head-of-steam.co.uk or email headofsteam@darlington.gov.uk.

Sunday 24 July will see the return of the Tees Valley IncludFEST to the South Park, a special arts and culture events for children of all abilities which includes live music, street theatre, ‘have-a-go’ workshops as well as arts and crafts ‘make it’ workshops which will run 11am-3.30pm.

The annual Sherwoods Darlington 10K will kick start the fun for August, as more than 2,000 runners from across the North East and beyond gather on Sunday 7 August to compete in what has become one of the region’s top road runs. There will also be the Darlington Junior 3K for ages 8-14-year-olds along with a family fun run for all ages.  Further details and how to enter can be found at www.healthydarlington.co.k/10k.

The Town Centre and Market Square will also be getting a distinct seaside feel as Darlington by the Sea returns as part of the Summer Market Family Fun Days, Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 August.

The fun starts with a traditional tea dance in the Market Square on Thursday, with live music and free tea and scone, along with specialist markets stalls in the town centre. Darlington by the Sea will bring its traditional mix of sand, entertainment, children’s fairground rides and a motorcycle display that will bring the events to a close on the Sunday.

And the summer programme draws to a close in September with the ‘Hell of the North’, on Sunday 4 September, a gruelling 100 miles cycle ride which is recommended for experienced cyclists only.

The 21st anniversary of the Darlington Rhythm & Blues Festival will then be celebrated on Sunday 11 September, as fans gather to enjoy live music in the Market Square 1pm-5.30pm.

Active families can also take part in a whole range of sports and activities at the Dolphin Centre and Eastbourne Sports Complex. These include intensive swimming lessons, cricket, gymnastics, family badminton, fun in the pool and much more. For details contact the Dolphin Centre on 01325 406411 or visit: www.healthydarlington.gov.uk.

There will also be a range of indoor events, including craft sessions at Crown Street Library. For more information about Darlington Libraries and its event programme log onto the website at: www2.darlington.gov.uk or call 01325 462034.

Councillor Nick Wallis, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure said:

“There really is something for everyone this summer in Darlington as our events team has worked with local partners to produce a packed programme of events and activities.

“So whether you’re after doing some shopping, looking for some fun, want to get more active  or be creative, there’s always a good reason to pop into town and see what’s going on.”

Some activities may require booking. More details of what’s on offer in Darlington over the summer can be found in the ‘Darlington Summer Events’ leaflet, now available at venues across the town centre, or log onto the website at www.darlington.gov.uk/darlingtonevents.