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Festival welcomes visitors for annual maritime fun!

History is brought alive at the Great Yarmouth Maritime FestivalA historic quayside at Great Yarmouth is gearing up to buzz with the sights, sounds, and smells celebrating the town’s seafaring links.

Around 30,000 people are expected to flock to the 19th annual Maritime Festival with its salty mix of family fun on the weekend of September 8 and 9.

There will be ships to board and see close-up, shanty music, and the smell of herring sizzling on the barbecue – as well as street theatre, children’s activities, exhibitions and demonstrations.

This year there is a special focus on two centenaries - the impact on Great Yarmouth of the First World War 100 years after it ended, and the Suffragette movement.

This year’s ships include:
• George Stephenson - a new steam ship built using recycled or salvaged materials.
• Triton - the world’s largest motor-powered trimaran research vessel from Gardline
• MTB102 – historic motor torpedo boat
• Bernisse – 1953 Belgian minesweeper, originally called Spa
• Lydia Eva - the herring drifter now a floating museum featuring local fishing heritage

The event is staged by the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area as part of its drive to attract visitors and spending to the area. It is run by a dedicated team of volunteers.

Festival chairman Aileen Mobbs said: “Great Yarmouth has links with the sea, shipping and fishing going back centuries but is still a busy port today. Our festival enables visitors to get up close and personal to our proud heritage as well as seeing modern vessels and learning about the coastal environment we all enjoy – either as residents or visitors.”

GYTABIA chairman Gareth Brown added: “The Maritime Festival is one of the highlights of the year, with terrific atmosphere – and shows that Great Yarmouth has much more to offer above its popular seaside holiday attractions.”

The action takes place on the South Quay from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday. Entry is free, but a donation of £2 per person is requested top help fund the event.

Shanty Music - Top musicians and singers performing include: The Sea Band; Tom Lewis; She Shanties and the London Sea Shanty Collective.
Heritage Quarter – Guides will highlight the bravery of local soldiers in the Great War, and signpost visitors to the scene of Britain’s first ever air raid. Reenactors will showcase life in the trenches, and how injured soldiers were treated. The Vintage Mobile Cinema Bus will show footage from the Great War. Visitors can also discover if they could have voted 100 years ago during the Suffragette movement. Norfolk Record Office will help people trace family histories.

Activities – Fun family activities include Squids Corner, the RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Broads National Park. Natural England will highlight the problem of marine litter and what people can do in their everyday lives to reduce the problem - including free talks on both days in the town hall at noon and 3pm.

Ships and crowds at last year's Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival
Young pirates enjoying the quayside fun at last year's Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival
Shanty music at last year's Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival
George Stephenson
AMS Bernisse