Thousands of people will arrive in Wellingborough today for this weekend’s 33rd annual Waendel Walk.
The weekend will begin with a parade through the town centre today followed by two friendship walks of 5km and 10km.
The parade will leave The Castle at about 6.15pm and make its way along Commercial Way and Midland Road, up Victoria Road, on to Canon Street, along Church Street and down Sheep Street back to The Castle.
There will also be entertainment from 5pm when a traditional jazz band will start the festivities on stage outside The Castle theatre, followed by speeches of welcome and a flag-raising ceremony.
From 6.30pm to 9.30pm there will be free entertainment from Dr Busker.
Walkers will also take part in different routes ranging from 5km up to a marathon-distance 42km on Saturday and Sunday.
A total of 1,350 people had pre-registered to take part yesterday, but several thousand more walkers are expected to go take part at the weekend.
Cllr Peter Morrall said: “We’re excited that after a year of hard work from everyone involved it looks like being another really successful event.
“The Waendel Walk is a truly international event and attracts walkers from all over the world. We’ve got people taking part from Holland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Sweden, the Czech Republic, America and even Australia.
“We’re all really looking forward to seeing old friends who come from overseas year after year, and also meeting new people who may decide to give it a go for the first time. It looks like the rain might finally stop this weekend, which makes it even more likely that people will turn out and join in the fun.”
Chelsea’s Angels co-founder Michelle Tomkins, of Westfield Road, Wellingborough, will walk six miles in the charity’s mascot costume on Saturday.
All the money she raises will go towards helping children with rare forms of cancer and their families.
She said: “I am looking forward to it. I thought wearing the mascot costume would be a different way of raising awareness of the charity.
“The costume is a bit difficult to see out of, but I’ll be walking with a group of about nine other people so they will help me. I think I have raised about £500 so far, which is more than I expected.”