Three days of glorious weather and glamorous ships

Three days of glorious weather and glamorous ships

 More than 1.5 million visitors at the world’s greatest port festival

(Hamburg, 10 May 2011) Blue skies, glorious sunshine and a spectacular maritime programme attracted more than 1.5 million visitors from Germany and abroad to the 822nd HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG, the world’s greatest port festival. They enjoyed a varied three day programme of entertainment from 6 to 8 May, with something for every taste along the six kilometres of the Port Promenade from HafenCity to the Oevelgönne Heritage Harbour. The HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG had more ships than ever before, and over 200 different programme items, creating a great atmosphere and fun for every age group. There was maritime tradition for the romantics, and high-tech vessels for technical enthusiasts; new hands-on activities for children, and the latest live shows for party-goers; a wide range of eating and drinking facilities, and much more – enabling every visitor to this maritime festival to celebrate the “Port Birthday” in their own individual way. Lots of parents were out in the morning with their children to wander along the Port Promenade, while party revellers were able to enjoy the first warm summer nights of the years with open-air celebrations.
“The port is the economic heart of Hamburg,” said Senator Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Minister of Economics, Transport and Innovation. “This year’s Hafengeburtstag is a dazzling showcase of the diversity of the maritime world. It is the ideal advertising for our city. I am delighted at the fantastic success of this festival, and would like to thank everyone who has contributed to it.”
The Port of Hamburg was livelier than ever before – even from a distance, the forest of masts next to Landungsbrücken showed people the way to the world’s greatest port festival. This year there were more than 330 vessels at HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG from all areas of maritime activity – a new record. Five tall ships, six cruise ships, vessels from the navy and emergency services, heritage and museum ships, sailing yachts and powerboats, and a Roman galley – visitors had a wider range to enjoy than ever before. More than 60,000 people took up the “Open Ship” offers to visit ships and naval units. The traditional programme highlights on the water included the Grand Arrival Parade on the Friday and the unique Tug Ballet on the Saturday.
The romance of tall ships was one of the big crowd pullers, featuring some of the world’s most beautiful vessels such as the Dar Mlodziezy, the Kruzenshtern and the Sea Cloud. Many of the visitors were carried away, at least in spirit, by the six cruise ships that moored in Hamburg during the three days of HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG. The crowning glory was the Queen Mary 2, which arrived in Hamburg on Sunday to lead the Grand Departure Parade.
The Festival got off to a magnificent start with brilliant sunshine for the opening on Friday, and a royal guest of honour adding extra distinction to the occasion. The 822nd HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG was opened jointly by Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon and Hamburg’s Mayor Olaf Scholz in the afternoon, at a ceremony on board the Rickmer Rickmers. There were big crowds from Hamburg and elsewhere present to welcome the Crown Prince on this state visit, representing Norway as the partner country for the festival. Hamburg’s landmark St. Michael’s Church (the “Michel”) was packed for the international ecumenical service at the beginning of the HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG – some 2,200 visitors listened to the Dialogue Sermon by Principal Pastor Alexander Röder and actor Siegfried Rauch on the subject of “Happiness on New Shores”.
The Crown Prince subsequently opened the NORWEGIAN FESTIVAL at Kehrwiederspitze, with large crowds of enthusiastic spectators. “We are overwhelmed by the interest that people in Hamburg show for Norway, and hope that many of the visitors to the NORWEGIAN FESTIVAL will now also visit our country,” said the delighted Norwegian Consul-General Morten Paulsen on Sunday. The Festival, with the slogan “The Oslo Region is coming”, included cultural performances, a Viking village, and typical national specialities for adults and children.
Along the Port Promenade, some 500 sideshows and stalls were there for entertainment. Some new attractions proved very popular, such as the REWE activity area with fun, games and infotainment for the whole family on the embankment promenade, St. Pauli Fish Market. A number of stages were set up from Kehrwiederspitze to St. Pauli Fish market and at the Oevelgönne Heritage Harbour and in the HafenCity traditional maritime harbour, with free live music, making the whole of the port into a gigantic open-air festival for three days. The programme ranged from shanties and folk music to blues and jazz, pop and punk rock. Musicals were presented at the invitation of the Hamburg section of the Federal Armed Forces, that is the “Rats” production from Hamelin (the Pied Piper town), and the “Tall Tales of Baron Münchhausen” from Bodenwerder, performed on a pontoon on stage, with a rapturous reception for their Hamburg premiere. The high point of the celebrations on Saturday evening was the great Costa Cruises Firework Display, which transformed the night sky over the Elbe into a sparkling sea of colour.
The police expressed satisfaction with the 822nd HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG, describing it as peaceful for an event of this magnitude with attendance of well over a million. That was also confirmed by the fire and emergency services.
The organiser of the HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG is the City of Hamburg, represented by the Ministry of Economics, Transport and Innovation. Hamburg Messe und Congress GmbH has consistently been mandated for organisation work since 1994. The 823rd HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG will be held from 11 to 13 May 2012.
HAFENGEBURTSTAG HAMBURG would like to thank all the sponsors, especially the principal sponsor ASTRA, who make it possible to hold this greatest port festival in the world. 

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