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On the 29th and 30th of June, the JQ Festival is back for the fifth year running. The festival is a free celebration of all things Jewellery Quarter, with a programme of live performances, history walks and street food.

On Saturday, you’ll find a host of activities for all ages. The festival will be taking over the Golden Square for music, performances and a celebration of the bicentenary of James Watts. Watts was a pioneering industrialist and inventor who lived in the JQ between 1777 and 1790.

Saturday’s highlights include a rideable steam engine around the Square, a Drive A Tram simulator and a giant Scalextric. Children can get involved with face-painting, balloon models and giant colouring in. Marvel at performances from CircusMash, who have teamed up with ThinkTank to bring a show that will take you out of this world.

The Jam House turns 20 this year, and they’re throwing an epic birthday party in St Paul’s Square. Enjoy music from the Midlands best live acts, from blues to reggae. Get hands-on with a variety of workshops, including 3d Printing at Fizzpop Makers’ Space and a lettering workshop hosted by Seven 9 Signs at 1000 Trades.

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Join a tour and learn about the history of the Jewellery Quarter, explore the Art Gallery or get spooky with a tour of the Cemetery.

If you’re more interested in food and drink than art and history, you can join a series of demos and workshops around the Quarter too. Take a Mead Masterclass at The Vanguard, watch a cocktail demo at St Paul’s House or learn about Popping Candy and Chocolate at The Chocolate Quarter. If beer’s your thing, make sure you pick up a Festival Programme. Inside, you can collect stickers from 1000 Trades, Burning Soul, Indian Brewery and Rock N Roll Brewhouse when you buy locally made beers. The first 50 people to collect five stickers can claim a Brewery Quarter t-shirt from 1000 Trades.

One of the highlights of the festival is always the Open Studios. The JQ is still home to an array of artists, makers and designers. During the festival, many of them throw open their doors to the public, so you can get a peek beside the scenes of the crafting still happening in the Quarter. Explore jewellers, furniture makers, ceramics studios, and more.

This article first appeared on www.birminghamupdates.com.

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