Go west?

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IT’S official – the Southside Festival has one up on its western counterpart.

Revellers marched through Shawlands and Pollokshields last weekend, intent on celebrating all things southside with a parade, fortunately accompanied by some welcome sunshine.

This weekend, it’s the turn of the West End Festival – but alas, the centrepiece of its programme, Festival Sunday, is nowhere to be seen.

Yes, after 17 years of traversing Byres Road and Kelvingrove park, the westend celebration has lost its parade, blaming budget restraints and clean up costs for a noticeable lack of belly dancers, samba girls and right-on peace and love floats.

But now that southsiders are done gloating, it’s worth having a look at what’s left this year – because the fact remains that the West End Festival is one of the biggest annual events in Glasgow.

And so we’ve taken a look at some highlights from the three-week-long festivities – black polonecks strictly optional (it is summer, after all).

The parade has been replaced by an opening event in the Botanic Gardens called Wonderland – an afternoon of costumes, music, crafts and foods with an Alice in Wonderland theme. A free event running 1-5pm, it’s a casual affair and picnics are welcome.

Southsiders are getting a look-in for the second week of the festival, as Cardonald College hosts its annual fashion show at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum.

Final year students are sending their creations down the runway at various times on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10, and again, this slice of fashion heaven is free to watch.

The following weekend is all about charity, as the Kelvin 5K fun run returns to Kelvingrove park from noon. The event raises funds for Yorkhill hospital’s Radio Lollipop – and those who take part can also take advantage of a free barbecue afterwards.

And of course, there is another festival which the westend programme incorporates – the Glasgow Mela.

The multicultural festival takes place Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24, with plenty of musicians, dance acts, arts and food to sample throughout the westend park – and it’s a big draw for the rest of Glasgow, welcoming over 40,000 people in 2010 (2011 was, unfortunately, a bit of a wash out).

While the sun is shining and the sky is blue, it seems that June may be the ideal month for a trip across the Clyde – even if they don’t have a parade.

n The West End Festival runs June 1-24. For a full programme of events, visit www.westendfestival.co.uk/