THE annual celebration of Middlesbrough’s history, heritage and culture gets under way next week.
Discover Middlesbrough 2017 officially launches on Thursday, October 19, with an open invitation to explore, experience and enjoy everything the town has to offer.
A packed programme of events, shows and exhibitions runs until Sunday, November 5, and there really is something for everyone.
And even for those who think they know the town inside out, the popular Festival always has a few surprises in store.
The 2017 programme features more than a hint of magic with Harry Potter is in residence at Central Library on Friday (October 20) alongside a few other activities to beckon visitors into a mythical, magical world.
Early booking’s a must for the ever-popular Magical History Bus Tour (October 28) – hop on board the vintage double decker bus guided by the 500 Group and intrepid time traveller Martin Peagam.
How about a spooky torchlight tour into the hidden depths of Teesside Archives on Halloween itself, October 31? Or perhaps a hard hat tour to see what’s been uncovered by the major renovation work currently under way at the Town Hall (October 25/November 1).
Other highlights include a rare after-dark tour of the Wilton complex on Wednesday, November 1 and a Twilight Teesside panorama from the top of the Transporter Bridge on Friday, October 27.
Step out on the fabled Black Path on November 1 or journey back into deepest prehistory by exploring recent archaeological discoveries in Eston Hills on Sunday, October 29.
The transformation process of casting metals was often thought to be magical in the past – take a tour of the William Lane Foundry (November 2 & 3) and find out how the last Middlesbrough foundry has a real future.
On Saturday, November 4 there’s an open invitation to discover and explore Middlesbrough’s artist quarter, with many artists opening the doors to their studios.
Newcomer Bistrot Pierre – already a hit among the town’s foodies – is throwing down a challenge for families to come and order their Sunday lunch in French on October 29.
Next year marks the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook setting forth on his first epic voyage on the Endeavour – why not walk in his footsteps at his Marton birthplace (October 26) and celebrate his birthday at his Birthplace Museum (October 27).
Local History Month and Discover Middlesbrough Co-ordinator Robert Nichols said: “Discover Middlesbrough is very much a community festival, a chance to bring into sharp focus the work that is going on all around us to maintain our local heritage and environment.
“It’s as much about the present and future as it is the past, a fortnight of events that opens doors and offers opportunities to see Middlesbrough in a completely different light.
“You may think you know Middlesbrough well, but we hope to open your eyes to a few surprises and maybe leave you with new paths to follow in the future.”
Councillor Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Communities, said: “Discover Middlesbrough has become a popular fixture on the town’s calendar, with an array of fascinating events exploring Middlesbrough’s past, present and future.
“It’s a real celebration of the town’s fantastic history and heritage, as well as its thriving contemporary cultural scene, and visitors and local residents are guaranteed to an eclectic and inspiring mix of events, exhibitions, talks and walks.”