ARBROATH’S major celebration of its maritime past, the annual Sea Fest, will take place at the harbour over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14.
And Eleanor Whitby of Red Pepper Events, event director, has stressed that: “There will be lots and lots to see and do.”
She went on: “Highlights will include thrilling jet ski displays, several historic boats on display in the marina, and, of course, the re-enactment of the story of the Bell Rock, starring the legendary Ralph the Rover, the medieval pirate who stole the bell from the Bell Rock.”
Amongst the historic boats on show will be two restored fishing vessels from North East Maritime Trust, ‘Favourite’, a former seine netter built in 1947 and ‘Rachel Douglas’, also built in 1947. In addition, ‘Reaper’ which is a ‘Fifie’ and the kind of the fishing boat that sailed from Arbroath over 100 years ago, will sail into Arbroath Harbour on Sunday, August 14.
One of the most impressive historic vessels in the UK will also be on display during Sea Fest. ‘Spider T’ is a 1926 ‘super sloop’ and runner-up in the 2011 National Historic Ships Flagship of the Year award.
She is sailing to Sea Fest from North Lincolnshire, a voyage which will take nearly a month. Interest in ‘Spider T’ is so high that the eight-man crew is stopping at selected ports along the way so as many people as possible can admire the super sloop, which has been returned to all her 1920s’ glory.
As part of Sea Fest’s involvement in the Year of the Light, Arbroath’s celebrations of the bicentenary of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, another historical artefact on display will be Strathmore Vintage Vehicle Club’s replica of the sling cart which carried the stones that built the lighthouse.
“This cart was built for the filming of the Bell Rock Lighthouse episode of the BBC documentary series ‘Seven Wonders of the Industrial World’,” explained Lyall Norrie, who gifted the cart to Strathmore Vintage Vehicle Club.
“There will also be a glass-fibre model of Bassey, the horse which hauled the sling cart to the harbour when it was fully-laden with stones.
“This model is based on Bassey’s skeleton which is held by St Andrews University and is surprisingly small in stature, especially considering some of the stones used to construct the lighthouse weighed almost a ton.”
As always, Sea Fest will feature cookery demonstrations, including regular demonstrations of cupcake decorating by the Scarlett Bakery.
There will also be opportunities to buy freshly-prepared, ready to eat seafood, such as Arbroath Smokies still hot from the barrel, hot-smoked salmon, dressed crabs, lobsters, prawn cocktail, oysters and whelks.
Music of all kinds plays a big part in Sea Fest. This year’s musical treats include performances by Kirriemuir’s hotly-tipped rock/indie band Emerald Sunday who recently played the O2 Arena in London, Thompson Leng Musical Society, Inchcape Ceilidh Band and The Tribe, whose infectious drumming always gets feet tapping!
And, having danced their way round the Bell Rock a few weeks ago, on Sunday, August 14, the East Angus Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society will be performing the Bell Rock Reel and other Scottish country dances on board a boat in the harbour.
Judging by their performance at last year’s event, the Gallus Boys, who describe their music as ‘a combination of skiffle, blues and a bit of country’, will be another of Sea Fest’s highlights.
“We enjoy the buzz and atmosphere at Sea Fest,” said Dave Paterson of the Gallus Boys, who are all from Arbroath. “When we played at Sea Fest last year, the crowd were great and sang along with the songs so here’s hoping we’re as well-received this year.”
Eleanor explained that there will also be birds of prey, a children’s sandcastle competition and daily launches of the Arbroath lifeboat. “In addition, there will be over 70 stalls from all over Angus, mainly selling traditional crafts, handmade jewellery and confectionery, but also providing local organisations and charities with opportunities to showcase their work,” said Eleanor.
Entry to Sea Fest, which is supported by Angus Council, costs £3 for adults, £2 for children and under-fives go free.
For more information about Arbroath Sea Fest 2011, visit www.arbroathseafest.co.uk