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As holidaymakers streamed past on hire boats, the launch of the Broads Outdoors Festival at How Hill Staithe yesterday made a perfect advert for the EDP’s Holiday Here campaign.

Speaking to the bankside gathering, EDP editor Nigel Pickover urged local families to support the festival’s 70 events over the next two weeks.

He said: “This is magical and so special. I have travelled right round the world but right here we have got something that is world class.”

He said it was the duty of his paper to tell the story of this wonderful landscape.

In front of the majestic wherry Albion, Barbara Greasley, chairman of Broads Tourism, said the idea for a significant annual event had come out of their work to rebrand the Broads as Britain’s Magical Waterland.

She said a key aim of the festival was to promote the Broads to local people and praised the EDP – one of the sponsors along with Hoseasons – for its Holiday Here campaign encouraging Norfolk people to support their home-grown tourism industry.

Rebecca Harris, marketing manager for Hoseasons, said it was great for her company to sponsor an event showing the delights of the location where Hoseasons began back in 1944.

She said: “The festival is a great opportunity to highlight the fun and adventure anyone can have on and off the water whether it’s a boating holiday, cycling, walking, birdwatching or even canoeing.”

Broads Authority chairman Stephen Johnson described the festival as “a chance to try your hand at new activities and make new discoveries”.

“The aim of the festival is to encourage people to discover special places in the Broads, right on their doorstep, and try something they would not normally do,” he said.

The festival begins tomorrow with the first Horning Boat Show, which has attracted more than 60 exhibitors.

The bank holiday weekend also sees a host of other events including the popular three-day Ludham arts and craft fair, the Martham scarecrow festival and a search for wildlife at Horsey windpump.

For festival details visit www.outdoorsfestival.co.uk

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