A summer campaign inviting the rest of Northern Ireland to ‘Make a Date with Derry-Londonderry’ has started with a splash in Belfast by setting out the many reasons to visit the city.
The promotional campaign focuses on the arrival in the city on June 29 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the start of the 10-day Clipper Homecoming Festival.
Environment Minister Arlene Foster and Derry actress Bronagh Gallagher joined a host of VIPs and media in Cutter's Wharf, Belfast, to extend a warm welcome to the rest of Northern Ireland in 2012/2013.
Guests at the launch were told how the summer months signalled the countdown to the UK City of Culture 2013 with an exciting line-up of events.
The launch was attended by a wide range of stakeholders, including Derry City Council, City of Culture, Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau, ILEX, Invest NI, NITB and Tourism Ireland.
Mayor of Derry, Councillor Kevin Campbell, said: “Our city is changing. It has a new life and ambition that is moving us forward with a great pace of commitment and change. It is this new vibrancy that we would like to invite everyone else to be part of.”
Chief Executive of Derry City Council, Sharon O’Connor, added: “2012 will continue to be a great year for Northern Ireland and Derry and we are delighted to have been part of the significant investment and ambition for change.
“We truly believe that 2012 and 2013 will be transformative years for the city - we know that when we look back in 2014 that we will see a city that has grown and come of age. We invite you to be part of this story of change with us. And don’t just keep it to yourself, tell your friends and family about it and make sure you ‘Make A Date’ with us!”
The Clipper Homecoming Festival, June 29-July 8, will welcome home the crew of the local yacht, Derry-Londonderry, and includes spectacular ceremonies to mark the arrival and departure of the 10-strong fleet, including a flotilla of around 100 pleasure craft.
A new Foyle Marina will enable the public to access the Clipper yachts and crews, board the Tall Ship, The Earl of Pembroke, and the RNLI’s Severn Class lifeboat, as well as tour Lough Foyle on the Maid of Antrim and the Wee Blue Boat.
The Ardglass Vikings and the Foyle Paddlers will be offering activities on-shore and off-shore, and there are opportunities to try keelboat sailing with the Ocean Youth Trust or witness a daring air-sea rescue by the Irish Coastguard.
Ultra-modern Zap Cat racing and a breath-taking display of water stunts will take place alongside historic exhibitions celebrating the city’s maritime heritage, as well as the Flavours of the Foyle Seafood Festival, featuring live cookery demonstrations and food stalls.
The best local musical talent, including the Undertones, Paul Casey, Paddy Nash and the Enchilladas, and Best Boy Grip, will take the stage at the LegenDerry Concert at Ebrington for a free gig on Thursday 05th July 2012.
Fireworks on the Foyle will wind up Clipper Homecoming Festival on July 5 and a grand Parade of Sail promises an incredible visual spectacle for the Ceremonial Race Start of the next lap of the Clipper Round the World Yacht on July 7.
More information at what’s happening in the city please visit www.whatsonderrylondonderry.com or for more information on the Clipper Homecoming Festival please visit www.derrycity.gov.uk/clipper.
The Clipper Homecoming Festival is organised by Derry City Council, and supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Loughs Agency, Londonderry Port and Harbour and Ilex.