Oceans of fun for children at Marine City Festival

Plymouth Hoe WaterfrontTwo weekends of family friendly events and activities have been planned in Plymouth as part of the inaugural Marine City Festival.

Taking place between Saturday 8 and Sunday 16 September, the festival will combine science and sport with food and entertainment to celebrate all things marine.

With an action-packed programme of events on both the opening and closing weekends there’ll be plenty to keep the kids busy, as well as lots of activities that can be enjoyed by all the family.

The festival, organised by Destination Plymouth, kicks off on Saturday 8 with the Marine City Festival Parade; a rich and vibrant celebration of the city’s relationship with the sea, involving hundreds of local school children in elaborate carnival costumes.

Led by two lively samba bands, the parade will begin on the Barbican at 1pm, wind its way along the streets to the Hoe before returning along the same route. Children from Yealmpstone Farm and Stuart Road Primary will be at the front of the parade dressed in Carnival Costumes created by them and theatre company Stiltskin. Other children wishing to take part will have the opportunity to attend a costume workshop at the Barbican Theatre to get ready in the morning.

As the parade takes place on land, participants in the Ecover Blue Mile will follow the same route by water, swimming, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding for a mile to raise money for the WWF’s river and sea conservation projects. Places are still available for all three individual events, as well as the aqua triathlon for anyone who wants to really give themselves a challenge.

On Sunday 9, families are invited to Shipwrecks and Sea Shanties at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park. Children can enjoy swashbuckling tales of high sea adventure and real pirate booty, while for parents there will be expert talks on the wrecks in Plymouth Sound and the artefacts discovered. Traditional sea shanty singers will be providing a musical backdrop, with cream teas and cake included in the ticket price.

The following weekend will see cool marine science and tasty seafood come together for the Plymouth Seafood Festival and STEMFest Family Weekend on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 in the Barbican and across the lock in the Aquarium Plaza.

The National Marine Aquarium will be taking marine science out onto the streets with interactive challenges and experiments. The fun and engaging Science and Technology Showcase run by the University will educate and entertain families with lots of cutting edge technology, simulators and weird and wonderful inventions.

Families will have the chance to discover how the aquarium works and what creatures can be found right outside its doors off the coast of Plymouth. From the tiniest plankton to gigantic basking sharks, visitors will find out how everything in the ocean is connected, and the activity will link in with the Seafood Festival by showing how seafood gets from sea to plate.

Duncan Currall, Chairman of Destination Plymouth said: “The Marine City Festival aims to offer something for everyone and the activities we’ve got lined up for children and families will really bring the marine world to life. Along with the science, business and arts and entertainment programme, the events for families will attract more visitors to Plymouth and firmly establish our position as a leading Marine City.”

David Gibson, Chief Executive of the National Marine Aquarium added; “The Marine City Festival is the perfect opportunity to really inspire kids to get excited by the marine environment around them. I am really pleased that along with the University we are able to deliver so much wonderful activity.”

The Plymouth Marine City Festival runs from Saturday 8 to Sunday 16 September, and also includes a business expo, marine science conference and outdoor cinema programme. For the full line up of events, please visit www.marinecityfestival.com or follow @marinefestival on Twitter.

Plymouth’s Marine City Festival

Plymouth Hoe WaterfrontPlymouth will celebrate its historic, unique and scientific connections with the sea and all things marine in its first Marine City Festival, to be held in September this year.

The Festival aims to raise awareness, nationally and internationally, of Plymouth’s role as a leading UK marine city, for research, leisure, heritage and food. As well as attracting local residents, families and visitors to the City to enjoy a range of fabulous events and activities, the Festival will also challenge and encourage key thinkers, academics, environmentalists, writers and others to debate one of the hottest topics around – the future sustainability of our seas and oceans.

The Festival (www.marinecityfestival.co.uk) will combine world-leading scientific debate on the future of our oceans with a varied and exciting range of marine related events and activities, including:

+ Oceans of Potential – a world leading marine science conference with Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the Plymouth Marine Sciences and featuring BBC broadcaster Monty Halls

+ The opening of the prestigious new Marine Sciences Building at Plymouth University as part of its 150 year Anniversary

+ A fabulous seafood festival focussing on sustainably sourced fish in the lively and atmospheric Barbican and Sutton Harbours – featuring locally caught seafood and top local chefs

+ Paddling, swimming and kayaking as part of the mass participation Ecover “Blue Mile” event

+ Learning and great family fun at Just Add H2O with the National Marine Aquarium

+ Celebrating and experiencing art, music and performance with the City Museum, Peninsula Arts and Plymouth Arts Centre throughout the Festival

+ A major marine business expo with bespoke events for inward investors, buyers and sellers

Throughout the week the Festival will play host to a varied programme of family events and activities based around the Waterfront organised by the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership and cultural events, performances and exhibitions supported by the Plymouth Culture Board and partners.

Festival organisers want the event to become internationally renowned, showcasing the best of everything Plymouth has to offer, a “signature event” inspiring visitors to come to the City and providing opportunities for local communities to reconnect with the sea.

Duncan Currall, Chairman of Destination Plymouth, said: “Last year’s America’s Cup World Series highlighted just how well Plymouth can put on a world class event – centred on our unique maritime location but also encompassing wider opportunities to attract visitors and investors.

“The Plymouth Marine City Festival brings together all that is best in Plymouth, from our unique coastal environment to the city’s marine enterprise and research strengths and our growing reputation for great food.

“The result is a programme that caters to a broad audience, which will attract visitors and investors and which can become a nationally significant recurring festival that will allow the city to make the claim that Plymouth is the UK’s Marine City.”

Cabinet Member for Planning, Strategic Housing and Economic Development, Councillor Ted Fry said: “This festival is part of an exciting programme of events that will bring in visitors to our amazing city, but also give our residents the chance to learn more about some of the superb work that goes on in our city as well as have some fun.”

In tandem with the development of the Marine City Festival, a series of thought provoking articles is being published during 2012 with the first (by Professor Martin Attrill, Director of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University, and BBC broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Halls) calling for a national debate over marine management. See this link for more details…