ARBROATH will once again be able to celebrate its maritime heritage when Sea Fest takes over the town’s harbour area on Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14.
As part of the Year of the Light celebration, a series of special events is taking place in and around Arbroath throughout 2011 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse.
This year’s Sea Fest will feature several exciting additions to the programme, including an appearance by none other than the legendary pirate, Ralph The Rover.
According to local legend, in medieval times Ralph The Rover stole the bell which gave the Bell Rock its name only to come to a watery end when his own ship hit the deadly reef.
On both days of Sea Fest, Ralph will be joined by other local worthies from Arbroath’s history (factual and perhaps not-so factual!), who will share their stories of the Bell Rock and its lighthouse with the crowd.
During Sea Fest there will be regular appearances throughout the weekend by ‘Bassey’, one of the best-known members of the team which built the Bell Rock Lighthouse. Bassey was the heavy horse which, 200 years ago, pulled the sling cart which carried the massive stones used to construct the lighthouse from the stonemasons’ yard where Ladyloan Primary School now stands to the harbour.
Sea Fest’s modern-day Bassey will be pulling a replica of the sling cart used over two centuries ago, although this time it won’t contain the one-ton granite blocks which make up the first course of the Bell Rock Lighthouse!
Sea Fest is centred around the marina and many boats will be making the voyage to Arbroath specifically to take part in the annual event. One of the most eagerly-awaited nautical guests will be ‘Spider T’, a 1920s ‘super sloop’ and runner-up in the 2011 National Historic Ships Flagship of the Year.
“We sailed Spider T from our home port in North Lincolnshire to Arbroath for the 2008 Sea Fest and received such a wonderful reception, we’re returning for the 2011 Sea Fest,” said Mal Nicholson, owner and skipper of Spider T. “The trip to and from Arbroath will take Spider T’s eight-man crew two weeks but it will be worth it!”
In addition, there will be breathtaking aerial performances by the Xtreme Action freestyle jet ski team, and, of course, the ever-popular launch of the Arbroath lifeboat. There will also be a children’s sandcastle competition; lots of chances to sample local delicacies such as the Arbroath Smokie; over 70 craft, jewellery and confectionary stalls and a host of musical entertainment, including performances by the highly-acclaimed Thomson Leng Musical Society.
“This year’s Sea Fest promises to be bigger and better than ever,” said Eleanor Whitby of Red Pepper Events, event director of Arbroath Sea Fest.
“The 200th anniversary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse has certainly brought Arbroath into the spotlight and we’re hoping to add extra sparkle to the town’s Year of the Light celebrations with Sea Fest 2011.”