Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival is a sailaway success

Up to 30,000 people enjoyed two days of nautical-themed fun at the weekend as Great Yarmouth held its 12th annual Maritime Festival.

Over Saturday and Sunday large crowds thronged the resort's South Quay area as people got up close to a fleet of vessels that had dropped anchor at the town.

Basking in bright sunshine and hot weather, some of the star maritime attractions included tall ships the Dutch schooner Oosterschelde and the Jubilee Sailing Trust's Lord Nelson.

There was also the perennial favourite, the steam drifter Lydia Eva, the coastal survey vessel MV Confidante and the UK Border Agency cutter the Vigilant.

And festival goers could be forgiven for having sore necks this morning as they craned their heads upwards to marvel at the amazing aerial antics of the Not Fit State Circus performing in the Lord Nelson's rigging.

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The quayside was alive with the sound of music with groups such as the Sheringham Shantymen, DPA and East Norfolk Operatic Society thrilling the crowds.

Children were also well catered for with the largest amount of craft activities based on nature to date and the comical antics of festival mascots, such as Horatio Herring.

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Festival organisers said Saturday's attendance was about 15,000 – beating last year's figure – and a similar amount of people attended yesterday.

The weekend's scenes of a jam packed South Quay were a welcome sight to festival chairman Aileen Mobbs, who had feared bad weather forecasts would put people off from coming.

Mrs Mobbs said: 'I am delighted to see the forecasts were inaccurate. I am really pleased as the festival has gone well. So many people have shown their support for the festival by coming along and the weather has been fantastic.'

Malcolm Bird, director of the Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority, said: 'The festival is for the people of the town. It is nice to put something back into Yarmouth.'

Next year's festival will take place on the weekend of September 1 and 2.

See Friday's Great Yarmouth Mercury for a full report and picture spread

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