DUDLEY town centre is set to be the focal point for Black Country day celebrations by hosting a family entertainment extravaganza.

The first official Black Country Day will be on Monday July 14, the anniversary of the invention of the Newcomen Engine, the world’s first steam engine created in the region in 1712.

On Saturday July 12 Stone Street Square will host a packed day of events to mark the day dedicated to the region featuring live music, street entertainers, a poets’ corner and a number of Black Country themed arts and crafts stalls. The event will run from noon until 7.30pm.

The show will be part of the Black Country Festival, an ambitious project to co-ordinate month of events throughout July celebrating the culture and heritage of the west Midlands’ industrial heartland.

Black Country festival organiser, Garry Sawers, said: “The Black Country Festival is now getting really close and the Stone Street event promises to be a focal point of everything that is going on. We hope to see as many people there as possible enjoying the free entertainment to help celebrate Black Country Day in style.”

Councillor Pete Lowe, deputy leader of Dudley Council, said: “I am so proud of how the whole Black Country has pulled together to organise these events across the region. The Black Country Festival is a celebration of all that is great and good about our area, and we are absolutely delighted to be backing this day. I thoroughly encourage people to go along and get involved.”

Black Country tourist attractions including the Black Country Living Museum along with the Red House Glass Cone, Dudley Museum and Art Gallery and Himley Hall are also set to stage exhibitions to mark the festival.

A single celebrating the festival has been recorded by folk/rock trio The Empty Can called I Vow to Thee My Black Country which the band hopes will feature in the UK charts if enough copies are sold.

Proceeds from sales of the single will go to Compton Hospice in memory of Steve Evans, a former Wolverhampton City Council worker who died in January after a high profile battle against cancer.

The region’s distinctive flag, designed by schoolgirl Gracie Sheppard, has become the logo of the Black Country. The flag’s red, white and black colours are a reference to the famous description of the Black Country by Elihu Burrit, who said it was “black by day and red by night” due to the smoke and fires from furnaces which filled the region’s landscape during the industrial revolution.