PUBLISHED: 16:28 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 03 September 2019
Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival 2018. Picture: James Bass Photography
(C) JAMES BASS PHOTOGRAPHY
With just days to go until this year’s Maritime Festival here’s a rundown of what’s new, what to expect, and why this year’s event is set to be a bit different.
The celebration returns to Great Yarmouth’s South Quay for its 20th year and while organisers are keeping tight-lipped about one special visitor who can’t be announced until the day she arrives, there is plenty to salute the town’s impressive seafaring history.
When is it?
The festival shoehorns itself into Yarmouth’s South Quay on Saturday September 7, 10-6pm, and Sunday September 8, 10-5.30pm. Entry is free, but there is a suggested donation of £2 with all proceeds going towards next year’s milestone 21st birthday event.
What’s the line-up?
Basically all things boats. Among the stars of the show will be the tall ship Minerva, who last visited five years ago. The Dutch three-masted schooner will be offering public sailings on both days at 10.30am, 2pm and 5.30pm.
Trips priced from £12 to £24 can be booked online here or bought on the day, depending on availability and weather conditions.
While spaces were still being confirmed due to last-minute, operational issues appearances from the Lydia Eva, the George Stephenson and Marie – complete with folk shanty stage by Seachange Arts – are guaranteed.
What’s the star attraction?
Organisers aren’t saying for security reasons but if she makes it she will be “big enough to turn heads” and the public will be able to board.
Watch this space!
Is it just boats?
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Music, food, and entertainment are a big part of the festival with three shanty stages, a bar, and numerous catering outlets offering herring and kipper (of course) as well as chargrilled sausages, cakes, waffles, and a wrap bar.
The town hall will be open, hosting a range of displays including a knitted Yarmouth, model boats, art work, and a pop-up cafe. There will also be a chance to try on the mayor’s robes.
Is there much for children?
Pint-sized shipmates are very much catered for with Makendoo – a pirate making workshop offering free sessions on both days. There will also be various charity stalls offering crafts, as well as Punch and Judy shows, four times a day, both days.
Organisers are keen to shake-up the formula and look towards building the festival in a new way for the future. More emphasis has been put on street performances and walkabout acts, making it more of a fun experience.
Visitors can expect large dollops of silliness from Capt Jack Sparrow and a man with a giant inflatable lobster.
Beach Patrol, an act featuring 7ft tall bathers on bouncing stilts, will offer humorous water safety advice.
What about parking?
They are expected to be busy but town centre carparks should be able to accommodate visitors.
A word from the man at the helm?
Event director Asa Morrison said there was plenty for the super serious maritime fan with re-enactments, displays, stalls, and music as well as “bonkers, fun” element.
“This year is about trying to bring in some new things,” he said. “If the town wants it, it needs to be developed. This is a transition year.”
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