City gears up for Clipper Homecoming Festival

Tue, 15/05/2012 - 15:24 -- Editor

COUNTDOWN details of how the city is preparing for the forthcoming Clipper Homecoming Festival were announced today. Mayor Alderman Maurice Devenney joined members of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to talk about the momentum that is building in the city ahead of this unique and exciting world class event for the city.

As a flagship event in NI 2012, the Clipper Race Homecoming Festival - scheduled to take place from 29th June to 08th July in the city - will welcome a 10-strong fleet of 68-foot yachts to the Foyle, as part of the final transatlantic leg of the world’s longest ocean race. 

During the festival visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Clipper yachts and meet the crews. The event will include a programme of activities and maritime themed attractions and sights; from marine taster sessions that will bring the River Foyle alive with water based fun, including Viking boats . As part of the arrival weekend visitors can taste the exquisite Flavours of the Foyle Seafood Festival, enjoy the finest musicians from the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, whet their creative appetite in a creative zone and be part of the official welcome event. 

The Legenderry Festival will take place on Thursday, July 5th to Sunday July 8th.  Highlights include a marine environment zone with visiting boats, the thrilling and fearless Zapcats micro powerboats display, a heritage zone telling the story of the River Foyle, Northern Ireland’s largest continental market and sizzling musical entertainment and creative family events every day. 

Those long summer evenings will provide a perfect backdrop for the Legenderry concert of Thursday, July 5th.  On July 6th the Clipper Connections musical evening will be followed by a colourful River Foyle fireworks display.

Mayor Alderman Maurice Devenney called on everyone to ‘Get on Board’ to make the most of the opportunities the event will bring for businesses, local communities and visitors.

“Whether you are interested in volunteering, supporting the Clipper Race Homecoming Festival or looking for business development opportunities, we are happy to assist and support your needs. The Clipper Homecoming Festival is an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our city and tell our unique story and I would encourage everyone to Get On Board and be part of this exciting adventure. As the Clipper Race yachts have journeyed around the world we have been busy promoting the city and region in international markets, with our successful bursary programme and candidates and our schools education programme that started this month in local schools, as well as in our partnership promotion campaign with NI 2012.

“It’s a fantastic chance for local businesses to get involved and capitalise on the opportunities that exist through a range of initiatives and projects including the ‘Adopt a Boat’ initiative, ‘Welcome Kits’ and ‘Legenderry Welcome Packs’. All in all this is your chance to get involved and help us deliver a world class and successful event for the city.”

 At the centre of the ten-day long festival will be the welcoming of the magnificent Clipper yachts – including the the Derry~Londonderry yacht which has been carrying the city story around the world in its year-long odyssey, with the crew including a number of local adventurers.

Jonathan Levy, Director of Business Development for race organisers Clipper Ventures, who attended the briefing at the City Hotel, said "The Clipper Race is looking forward to arriving in Derry-Londonderry at the end of June.  The city has lined up an excellent programme of activity which I am confident Clipper Race crew and visitors alike will enjoy enormously." 

Town Clerk and Chief Executive with Derry City Council, Sharon O’Connor said Clipper was a unique opportunity to raise the profile of the city as a destination for world class events as well as providing local businesses with an opportunity to maximise this unique opportunity to link with other cities and showcase the city.

She said: “The city is physically changing thanks to investment in the public realm, the opening of Ebrington Square, the Peace Bridge and the significant investment in the Foyle Events Marina. The scale and pace of this investment is building real confidence and opportunity for local businesses and communities. The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race will be a chance to showcase all of these developments to a worldwide audience, and will be one of the most exciting events the city will ever host. This world class event is an opportunity to attract visitors and investment, and promote our vibrant, innovative city in the lead up to City of Culture 2013. It is our chance to tell our story to a global audience and to reap the benefits of that exposure”.

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