By Anne Edwards
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Tall ships, small ships, life-saving boats and historic vessels. Add a mixture of all things nautical including shanty singers and the scene is set for the 15th Great Yarmouth Maritime festival.
The annual two-day event returns to South Quay on Saturday and Sunday, September 6 and 7 to celebrate the town’s proud maritime history and future.
The festival has something for all ages as well as live music, street entertainment, arts, crafts and children’s activities – and special food cooked up by experts.
Festival activities and entertainment on South Quay are free but a donation of £1 per visitor towards festival costs is welcomed.
Dutch tall ships the Minerva and the Tres Hombres, the world’s only sailing cargo vessel operating without a back-up engine, will be in port.
MTB102, the third last vessel to leave Dunkirk in 1940 will also be alongside, as well as steam drifter Lydia Eva, The Daybreak (1934 Humber Keel), Izambard (Dutch-style barge), RASC Fast Launch Humber, RNLI Great Yarmouth and Gorleston’s Samarbeta lifeboat, HMC Protector (customs cutter) and MV Confidante (Gardline coastal survey vessel).
The Sowenna, a Cornish Pilot Gig and the Edward Birkbeck, the former Winterton lifeboat will also be on display on the quay.
Shanty and maritime music will be performed throughout the weekend at three different venues on South Quay.
New visiting shanty groups and singers are Nanne and Ankie from The Netherlands, La Bouline from France and Jenkin’s Ear from Guernsey, along with Tom Lewis, who has returned to the UK after 30 years in Canada and Suffolk’s John Ward.
Other performers at the festival are Sheringham Shantymen, Capstan Full Strength, The Mollyhawks and The Keelers from Tyneside. Wrentham Brass Band will also be there to start Sunday morning with a maritime programme.
Visitors will be able to go aboard the Minerva, the Tres Hombres and the Lydia Eva, and meet Admiral Nelson and Mrs Hamilton, along with Horatio Herring, Lofty the Lighthouse and Mrs H.
They will also be able to enjoy military re-enactments from East Norfolk Militia, street theatre from Inner State, Punch and Judy shows and face painting and balloon modelling.
For visitors of any age there is the chance to find out about the Broads and local nature reserves and make a dragonfly, a butterfly feeder or a flying wristband with the RSPB, or have a go at making herring kites and shark’s tooth necklaces with Norfolk Wildlife Trust.
Eastern Inshore Fisheries will have a tank full of local marine species to explore, while local artist Ernie Childs will paint a maritime masterpiece before your eyes.
Crafts such as lace making, spinning and gansey knitting as well as maritime wood carving will also be demonstrated and visitors can have a go at making a fisherman’s net.
Food features high on the attractions with the Feast of Fish cookery demonstrations from top Norfolk chefs, including at 2pm on the Sunday, Ready, Steady Cook, a competition between Daniel Smith and Mark Dixon hosted by David Clayton from BBC Radio Norfolk.
Visitors in wheelchairs are advised to use the accessible entrances at Middle Gate (to the right of Nottingham Way) and the South Gate at the far end of the festival. There is a 96m long cobbled area towards the North Gate which some wheelchair users may find challenging to navigate.
Aileen Mobbs, festival chairman and GYTA Honorary President said: “We are looking forward to a weekend of maritime celebration, with our tall ships, a busy international shanty singing programme and lots demonstrations, hands-on activities and entertainment. We are enormously grateful to our festival sponsors.”
The festival is organised by Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority in association with Seajacks UK Ltd.