Portsoy Boat Festival Hopes to Expand its Horizons

The Portsoy Scottish Traditional Boat Festival team hopes to bring economic and community development through maritime heritage around “The North Sea Ring.”

In an effort to use maritime heritage to spark economic and community development the Portsoy Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will collaborate this week with the Orkney International Science Festival. The bonding of Scotland’s two top events could see the 2014 Portsoy festival, which celebrates its 21st anniversary in June draw visitors from Scandinavia.

On Thursday evening, the collaboration will be officially announced at this year’s Portsoy festival fund-raising dinner in the Station Hotel; Orkney Science Festival director, Howie Firth, will be the guest speaker at the event. Additionally, the Portsoy festival team is developing plans to expand this maritime heritage to form a North Sea network or The North Sea Ring, if you will. By linking up organizations in Scandinavia, the Low Countries and the United Kingdom, the collaboration hopes to encourage widespread community development and economic expansion.

“The festival has a great program that offers a fantastic traditional maritime experience and this new link with the Orkney International Science Festival will broaden our horizons quite significantly. And, thanks to the North Sea Ring initiative, we’ve already had expressions of interest in attending this year’s festival from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands as a result of this tie-up and another project we’re involved in,” said Roger Goodyear, boat festival committee chairman.

He added, “Each year, our festival continues to grow stronger and draw in huge crowds. Our small town usually has a population of 2,000 and that rises to an incredible 16,000 people over the weekend of the festival. Now in its 21st year, we hope to continue to build on its enviable reputation for showcasing the very best in traditional maritime festivities with a range of craft, food, drink, music and dance events. What started as a small community celebration to mark the 300th anniversary of Portsoy harbor has grown to become recognized by VisitScotland as one of the region’s flagship tourism events, which is a fantastic boost.”

Tickets for the Portsoy Scottish Traditional Boat Festival that runs from June 27 to 29 have already gone on sale; branded as Scotland’s leading celebration of maritime and cultural heritage—in the Year of Homecoming. Homecoming Scotland director, Caroline Packman, said, “Homecoming places the spotlight on our greatest assets and celebrates all that’s great about our country, so it’s only fitting the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival is part of the packed Homecoming program of events.

She added, “Scotland is the perfect stage for major cultural events and the boat festival provides a truly enchanting example of the region’s rich heritage and culture. Whether you’re interested in crafts, historic vessels, boat races or it’s simply a day out with the family, there’s truly something for everybody at Portsoy.”

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