Events unveiled to replace Liverpool Boat Show

Liverpool City Council has announced plans for a number of maritime events in the city, which will replace the previously planned Boat Show.

Judith Feather, Liverpool City Council's head of events, said: "Spring on the Waterfront is set to be a fantastic event and it's a real credit to the maritime industry and other regional organisations who have worked with us at short notice to make it possible.

"The event is also a taster of what to expect in September when the hugely popular Mersey River Festival returns. Our iconic waterfront will be showcased at its very best and we're looking forward to thousands of people converging on the Pier Head for what will be a wonderful occasion."

The city council has been working in partnership with Liverpool Vision, the city's economic development company, to organise Spring on the Waterfront.

Marine Industry Events, the organisers of the Liverpool Boat Show 2011, announced in February that the event was being cancelled after a number of major exhibitors pulled out because of a slump in sales caused by the current economic climate.

Cllr Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council, called for a summit meeting that month, which was attended by representatives of maritime organisations and private and public sector partners including Cllr Wendy Simon, cabinet member for culture and tourism, and Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, to figure out a replacement event to run from Friday 29 April until Sunday 8 May, when the Boat Show would have taken place.

Steinberg, said: "We've had fantastic support from Liverpool businesses and the city is making the best of its main attractions.

"Spring on the Waterfront will not only be a great day out for families, but it will also provide a valuable injection into the economy and showcase our World Heritage Site and magnificent waterfront in the best possible way."

The free ten day event will feature more than 100 events including:

  • Tall Ships including Astrid, Pelican of London, Oosterschelde and STA Stavros S Niarchos, which is the first new tall ship built in Britain for more than 12 years. The council said visitors will be given the chance to board the ships to watch demonstrations of sailor skills and to meet the crew
  • A Shanty Festival where performers will take to a floating stage in Salthouse Dock and the quayside will be filled with songs and music from Liverpool's golden age of sailing ships. Local acts will be joined by performers from America and Europe
  • Yachts from all over the North West will compete in two regattas on the Mersey, the Liverpool Kindred Clubs Regatta, from 29 April to 2 May, and the Royal Mersey Spring Regatta, 7-8 May
  • Canal boats will take over Salthouse Dock, giving everyone the chance to tour some of the historic vessels and see the canal boat tug-of-war
  • Taster sessions of dinghy sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, kayaking, canoeing and paddleboards at the Watersports Centre
  • A special food and drink festival located at the Pier Head celebrating best local produce
  • Street theatre with entertainment ranging from mime and clowns to jugglers
  • Many bars, restaurants and shops on the Albert Dock will also offer free special activities for customers
  • Guided walks of the UNESCO World Heritage waterfront
  • Screening of The Royal Wedding on Friday 29 April will be shown on a giant screen at Grosvenor's Liverpool One destination, including a street party

Organisations supporting the event are Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Vision, Decade of Health and Wellbeing, Liverpool One, Inland Waterways, European Regional Development Fund, Merseytravel, Tate Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool, Comedy Festival, Liverpool Marina, British Waterways, Sail Training, Gower Street Estates, The Mersey Partnership, the Albert Dock Company, Geraud and the Watersports Centre.

Other maritime events taking place in the city in 2011 are On The Waterfront, the opening of the Liverpool Museum, including the Centenary of Liver Building, between 22-24 July and The River Festival, between 8-15 September.

For full details and times of all the events taking place during the festival visit the Spring on the Waterfront website.

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Credit to the council for getting an event in place but still a shame the boat show never got off the ground or into the water!

By Stuart Ross

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