Final preparations being made for Bristol Harbour Festival
The sun has finally come out and it looks as if it will be here to stay for the weekend of the Bristol Harbour Festival.
Finishing touches were being made this morning to the festival which this year features performances by Cirque Bijou and the winners of Bristol's Battle of the Bands. The festival officially opens tonight (Friday) with a concert in Millennium square.
Thousands of people are expected to descend on the harbour over the weekend and the festival stretches along the harbourside from the ss Great Britain to Queen Square and Castle Park.
The ships and boats already moored up include the Royal Navy clearance vessel HMS Cattistock, a selection of steamboats and The Matthew, who returns to Bristol following her appearance at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
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Challenge Wales, the 72-ft round-the-world yacht and the largest sail training vessel in the Bristol Channel, will also be open to the public during the weekend.
Newfoundland dogs will be putting on a variety of rescue displays, as will Bristol's fire-float Pyronaut and their will be a boat race by the Young Shipwrights.
Leslie Morrish is the owner of the tall ship 'Irene'. He says the Bristol Harbour Festival is an important fixture in the calender and he enjoys showing people round a piece of history: “Most people like to see old things including old vessels. Children especially love exploring her although so far this morning they haven't yet discovered the bell - when they do all hell breaks loose.”
Certainly excitement about the festival was building this morning. Four-year-old Archie was waiting to board the Matthew with his mum: “It's just like a real pirate ship – I read a book about pirates this morning and this is their ship I know it is.”
While the crowds build and the final preparations are made Councillor Guy Poultney said after a dismal summer so far the festival will go a long way to boosting tourism and the local economy: