THE Tall Ships are coming again – and the spectacular event due to be staged in 2011 received a major boost last night with the announcement of €450,000 in sponsorship funding.
Waterford successfully hosted the internationally famous Tall Ships race in 2005 and preparations are at full throttle for the next staging of the event which is expected to bring more than 500,000 visitors into the south-east region next summer.
Organisers last night confirmed sponsors have come on board with support for the Tall Ships 2012 – the 3 mobile telephone network, Bulmers and Waterford Crystal have been named as host port partners while Waterford Institute of Technology are education partners and RTÉ are the official media partners.
The event is expected to cost about €3 million to host by Waterford City Council and Waterford Port Authority while Fáilte Ireland is also investing “significant resources” in support.
June 30 next year is the date the international fleet of Tall Ships is due to arrive in Waterford, staying around the Suir estuary until July 3 when it will travel on to Scotland and then Scandinavia.
Mayor of Waterford Cllr Mary Roche said it promises to be “four magical days of free fun”.
“The support of the host port partners, education partner and media partner represent a welcome vote of confidence,” she said.
Tall Ships 2011 chairman Des Whelan said the financial and marketing support is “timely,” now that they are within 10 months of the event. “The countdown is very much on to what will be Ireland’s biggest ever free quayside festival.”
This year’s races in the host ports in Belgium, Denmark, Norway and England generated “massive visitor numbers and economic impact,” according to Mr Whelan.
The festival will feature Irish music, food and street theatre.
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