Stunning festival to light up the shores of Suffolk
- Credit: Tendring District Council
Residents of Felixstowe and Shotley will be treated to a spectacular view this weekend as Harwich lights up for its annual Illuminate festival.
A torchlit procession with giant lanterns and puppets made by local schoolchildren will light up the town of Harwich over the weekend, as well as lit-up entertainment, projections, light shows and premieres of two films which will be projected onto seafront buildings.
But it's not just the town of Harwich which will benefit from the displays, as people living across the quay in Felixstowe and Shotley will be able to see the creations from afar on Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30.
Mike Carran, the event director of Harwich Illuminate Festival and head of sport and leisure at Tendring District Council, said the festival will really light up the town.
"This year's Illuminate Festival is bigger and bolder than ever before, as we kick off a year of commemorations marking 400 years since The Mayflower of Harwich set sail for America carrying the Pilgrims who would go on found to the United States of America," he said.
"There is a fantastic programme lined up with everything from street entertainment to cool projections, face paint to dressing-up, and launching it all the parade featuring so many people from our community. It is really not an event to be missed."
Harwich has a central role in the famous story - not only was the Mayflower built in the town but it is the birthplace of the ship's captain, Christopher Jones, who lived and was married (twice) in Harwich.
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It is anticipated there will be a lot of interest in the anniversary celebrations from both American tourists keen to retrace the story of their country but also from people closer to home - and the Illuminate festival will kick start the anniversary celebrations.
Mr Carran continued: "I would encourage everyone to come down for both days of Illuminate, as there is a very different feel and lots of different activities on each day to make a return visit worthwhile.
"A huge thank you must go to all of our partners, too numerous to name, without whom this event would not have gone ahead.
"Also remember this is just the start - and we'd love to hear from you if you've got ideas for something to commemorate Mayflower 400 during 2020, or beyond."
Central to the festival will be the Illuminate Parade on Friday, with crowds gathering from 5pm to assemble, before the procession through the old town at 5.45pm.
Saturday will have a more relaxed, festival feel with music from 3pm, before the event kicks off with a bang at 4.15pm with a fireworks flight from the Fireflies - a firm favourite in the Clacton Airshow twilight display.