Thousands attend Derry clipper maritime festival

clipper
Image caption Derry City Council has said that the festival could generate £5m for the local economy

Tens of thousands of people are expected in Londonderry for a nine-day maritime festival to welcome home the Clipper Around the World Race.

The yachts are expected to arrive in the River Foyle at about 11:00 BST on Monday.

The Legenderry Maritime Festival began on Saturday, and saw the quayside transformed into a festive village with boats, music and a continental market.

The Red Arrows will fly over the Lough Foyle on 29 June to close the festival.

Derry is the penultimate stopover on the world's longest ocean race, which left London in September.

Some of the yachts were expected to arrive in Derry from Saturday, but will now start to arrive on Monday due to poor weather conditions.

'Exceptional event'

About 120,000 people visited Derry in 2012 for the Derry-Londonderry homecoming.

Music City Day will start the clipper festival on Saturday with music from dawn to dusk.

The Celtronic Festival starts on 25 June and will feature some of Europe's leading DJs.

The Beach Boys will take to the stage at Ebrington Square for their first ever visit to Derry on 26 June.

An arts and craft marquee will be set up along the quay for children with marine-themed crafts, a stinky pirate trail, a treasure hunt and jelly fish puppet-making workshop.

Image caption Crew members on the Derry-Londonderry-Doire yacht have said they are "excited to meet everyone in Derry"

There will also be a graffiti workshop set up by Urban Visualz.

Canoeing and a moonlit paddle has also been organised for adults.

A fire and water show, featuring a pirate ship battle on the Foyle with fireworks, will take place on 28 June before the yachts leave the city.

Sailors from across the world are expected to flock to the city with many expected to take part in the clipper farewell parade on Sunday 29 June.

Magilligan strand and Greencastle in County Donegal will be a vantage point to see the yachts leaving Northern Ireland.

'Fantastic welcome'

The Mayor of Derry, Brenda Stevenson, said Londonderry will rise to the occasion.

"When the city hosted its first clipper stopover event in 2012, we received tremendous feedback," she said.

"I know that Derry will certainly rise to the occasion once again and, with an even bigger and better line up for 2014, the Legenderry Maritime Festival promises to be an exceptional event.

"Thousands of people will be thronging the streets over the coming days, so this is a real opportunity to showcase the very best of the city, our stunning riverfront, our renowned hospitality and our ability to stage world class events.

"I would urge everyone to come along and join in the fun, and give the Clipper crews, including our own Derry-Londonderry-Doire, a very warm Derry welcome."

Image caption Andrew Taylor, 46, from London, went over the side of the Derry-Londonderry-Doire yacht in March and was recovered almost two hours later

Clipper project manager with Derry City Council, Aeidin McCarter, said she was delighted to see the event finally coming together.

"The team from Derry City Council has been working around the clock to put the final preparations for the festival in place after many months of planning.

"We are delighted that the clipper race organisers have selected Derry once again as a stopover city, and after the fantastic welcome they received in 2012 they are extremely enthusiastic about their return.

"Music will also be in the Derry air on Saturday as Music City 2014 stages a massive all-day outdoor music spectacular, featuring the very best local musical talent spanning all age groups and genres."

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