Photo gallery: Creations from the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival lifebuoy art trail
- Credit: Archant
They are orange rings that line waterfronts in an unfussy functional role that saves lives.
But scores of more colourful creative lifebuoys have appeared in two north Norfolk towns – aiming at keeping the town centres and tourist trade afloat.
They have been painted with images and given crafty adornments ranging from seaside scenes and mermaids to more worldly sea creatures – and one has even been turned into an aquarium with real water in it.
The 'Lovely Lifebuoy' art trail is part of the annual Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival, which has previously seen the resorts showcasing decorated crustacea, deckchairs and windbreaks, which are auctioned for charity at the end of the summer.
They are sponsored and displayed in local shops, cafes, museums and schools as local folk – and created using a mixture of professional and amateur artists.
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Festival secretary Kate Royall said the diversity of people and ages involved helped create the wide range of ideas each year.
'Lifebuoys are functional, but it's only when you look at them you really see what you can create with them.
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'They are seaside objects and people have excelled themselves making designs which brighten up the two towns.
'The trails bring in thousands of people to visit the trails – we know that from the feedback we get when people vote for their favourites - and it even makes the locals take a fresh look at their towns.'
Groups and individuals had been working on their creations since February.
More than 60 lifebuoys are on show this year, but visitors will not have to visit them all after previous trailgoers said the journey to find a set of clues, was too long especially for children – so it was just a matter of people doing what they could and voting for their favourites, said Miss Royall.
The art trail began this week – and runs alongside a Scrumptious Seafood trail involving nearly 30 eateries to highlight special seafood dishes – again with a competition to vote for favourites.
The trails run until August 16, and on Sunday August 25 the lifebuoys will go under the hammer to help local charities who apply for grants.
The main festival weekend in on May 17-19. After an opening concert on the pier, there is a range of cookery, craft, and family activities across the two towns, along with the world pier crabbing championships at Cromer.
For more information visit www.crabandlobsterfestival.co.uk