Lerwick’s night sky is set to sparkle on Saturday 23rd July with a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate the return of the Tall Ships Races to Shetland after more than 10 years.
Skyburst The Firework Co, which created the original display for the 1999 Cutty Sark Tall Ships Races, will produce an even bigger extravaganza for this year’s event, fired from Bressay.
Beginning at 11.50pm in the evening, the pyrotechnics show will illuminate Lerwick Harbour and its waterfront, providing a backdrop for the biggest spectacle of the maritime calendar.
Throughout the four-day festival Lerwick will play host to a programme of events including music, dance, drama and arts, running from Thursday 21st July until Sunday 24th July which is set to attract thousands of spectators to the town.
Tall Ships project manager Fiona Dally said: “This year’s display, on the eve of the Parade of Sail and the departure of the Tall Ships, is a fantastic way to commemorate the visit of the international fleet to Shetland.
“Special thanks must go to Skyburst The Firework Co for its contribution of £5,000 worth of fireworks, local display leader Geoffrey Johnson and landowner John Scott for the provision of his land for the display.”
Skyburst display co-ordinator Leigh Pittaway said: “Skyburst The Firework Co is delighted to support the event and wish all the people of Shetland and its visitors a memorable experience.”
Meanwhile, NorthLink is stepping up its RNLI fund-raising efforts with a cruise next month which will provide participants with an opportunity to get “up close and personal” with the Tall Ships fleet.
The cruise, a return trip from Holmsgarth through Lerwick Harbour, passing Breiwick then down to the north of Mousa, takes place on Sunday 24th July when nearly 60 vessels participating in The Tall Ships Races will be sailing in the same waters. All proceeds from the trip go directly to the RNLI.
NorthLink commercial director Cynthia Spencer said: “Some 400 people on board MV <i>Hjaltland</i> will have the opportunity to see these magnificent sailing ships at close range.
“Our cruise gets under way at 1.30pm from the Holmsgarth Terminal. At the same time The Tall Ships Race organisers and Lerwick Port Authority will be getting the Tall Ships lined up ready for the start of their race. We will be mingling with the Tall Ships throughout the cruise so this represents maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity to see these vessels from close range while at sea.”
NorthLink’s RNLI cruises and open days have become a highlight of the Lifeboat Institution’s local fund-raising efforts. Earlier this month, as a result of the open day over £10,000 was raised for the Lerwick lifeboat.
Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild president Moira Leask said: “Earlier this month NorthLink laid on the Hrossey and their on-shore facilities for our annual Bressay cruise and over 400 folk supported us by participating.
“With the Tall Ships fleet racing from Lerwick to Stavanger next month we thought that it would provide a great opportunity for Shetlanders and visitors to cruise through the flotilla and still be back in Lerwick in time to take part in all of the special events that will be taking place on the quayside.
“The boat leaves at 1.30pm and returns at 4pm. Afternoon tea will be served on board throughout the trip and all for the price of £20 for adults and £10 for children/concessions, children under five are free. We do hope that islanders will support us by choosing to be part of this unique opportunity.”