PLENTY of family fun will be on offer this weekend when the International Festival of Glass returns to Stourbridge for the seventh time.

Four packed days, from Friday (August 25) until Monday (August 28), will see exhibitions, displays, and even live musical and dance performances appear in the town, while lots of have-a-go sessions will give everyone a chance take part.

This year’s event, which will celebrate how glass has been a positive influence in people’s lives, features 16 inspiring exhibitions, more than 300 artists, expert demonstrations, lectures and presentations, heritage and graveyard walks, the ever-popular bead fair, narrowboat rides, lively street entertainment and a fun auction hosted by BBC Antique Roadshow’s Will Farmer.

But one of the festival highlights will be the inspirational ‘Hot Shop Heroes’ programme which was started in Tacoma, USA, and has supported some of America’s wounded soldiers by teaching them to blow glass. Project Leader Patricia Davidson is joining the festival to share her experience and to help launch a new programme for UK veterans called ‘Hot Glass Heroes’ at the Ruskin Glass Centre.

Other attractions will see the last glass-eye-maker in the UK, Jost Haas, demonstrate his extraordinary skills, while the festival will aim to create a new world record for the longest stretch of fused glass bunting and scientists from the University of Sheffield will explain why they put nuclear waste in glass to keep it safe.

Storytellers from the famous ‘Crick Crack Club’ explore the transformative and magical power of glass, the Red House Glass Cone is the inspiration for a unique audio-visual installation by artist Andy Garbi, and Latvian artist K?rlis Bogustovs will showcase his interactive glass piano and glass skateboard ramps installations.

The newest attraction in the Stourbridge Glass Quarter, the White House Cone Museum of Glass, which will become home for the famous collections cared for by Dudley Council and the British Glass Foundation, will launch with a 20 year retrospective of resident glass artist Allister Malcolm, who has invited 20 artists to display alongside.

Over at the Red House Glass Cone, one of the main attractions has seen local artists and the community team up to create a visually stunning garden using fused, brown, mosaic and lampworked flowers and plants.

Councillor Ian Kettle, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for planning and economic development said: “Everyone involved in the creation of this stunning garden should be proud of themselves as it promises to be something which is remembered for years to come.

“This is not the only thing visitors will be able to enjoy during their visit as there is so much happening at the site. This is a festival not to be missed.”

For more information about all the events taking place as part of the 2017 International Festival of Glass, including a full programme and free shuttle bus times between venues, visit

As always, the final showpiece of the festival is the British Glass Biennale exhibition – the largest selling exhibition of contemporary glass in the country, attracting top collectors and enthusiasts from around the world.

This year’s Biennale, which runs at the Ruskin Glass Centre from August 25 to September 9, features 63 British or UK based artists exhibiting a diverse range of work, including sculptures, installations, vessels and films.