Festival 2001

Whitehaven Maritime Festival 1999


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On June 26th and 27th 1999 Whitehaven held its first maritime festival celebrating the history of this once important port and looking forward to a future as a marina and tourist location, thanks to a massive investment in the harbour. The event was a huge success with up to 100,000 people attending over the weekend. The weather was good except on Saturday night when torrential rain poured down on a re-enactment of John Paul Jones' raid of 1778. This was followed by a spectacular firework display that coincided with a display of thunder and lightning, which made it all the more impressive. On Sunday afternoon a pardon was granted to the US navy in an act of reconciliation for acts committed so long ago.

A fun fair, music stages, marquees with stalls of local produce, people in fancy dress, dancing, drama and music performances all contributed to make the event a great success. All this took place against the historic harbour now in its first stage of renovation full of vessels old and new. The next festival in two years time should be even better, as the harbour will have, by then, undergone a complete transformation, with walls newly paved using decorative stone, removal of the dilapidated buildings from the quays and exciting new attractions in place.

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