NEXT weekend more than 70 events across 18 venues will highlight Blackburn's manufacturing history and future as the town hosts the first National Festival of Making.

Everything from the traditional to the modern and avant-garde will be on show at a celebration of East Lancashire and the UK's creativity and craft skills.

Organisers, led by Blackburn's home-grown design guru Wayne Hemingway, hope thousands of visitors, will visit the town centre to enjoy the delights of making things and eating speciality food dishes.

The new Cathedral Square opposite the railway station will host two re-invented and rebooted versions of the great British shed, normally found lurking in gardens or allotments.

The sheds will be home to resident makers during the two day festival, inviting the public inside to join in the process and see finished pieces of work.

The event on Saturday and Sunday, with a special festival hub on King William Street, will also see a team of industrial bakers step away from their production line of muffins, brownies and breads to perform a brand new piece of contemporary dance inspired by their working lives.

They are just one result of the ground breaking Art In Manufacturing commissions after nine artists were paired with leading British manufacturers to develop new artworks for the festival.

Sited in unusual public places, other work includes abstract,‘walk-in’ cardboard pods dotted throughout an historic abandoned landmark, artefacts found in industrial workspaces elevated to celestial sculpture and twenty, flying hat-clad ‘tourists’ will go on a journey through time.

Mr Hemingway said: "The National Festival of Making is coming to Blackburn and East Lancashire with the aim to show off our making and manufacturing skills and to inspire a new generation to take up the mantle. "

Harriet Roberts, manager of Blackburn BID, said: “We hope this festival will bring new people into Blackburn to benefit local businesses.”

Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss, Cllr Phil Riley, said: "We are delighted that this first ever such national festival is coming to our borough celebrating and brining together our manufacturing and creative history and future.

"It should be a great and well-attended event."

The free family-friendly festival, the first-ever such national celebration of manufacturing and creativity, takes place in Blackburn as the town is steeped in centuries of making tradition and 25 per cent of the local population, twice the national average, is still employed in making industries.