Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 10.23.36South Tyneside’s maritime history and sights of the seaside will be celebrated when the annual festival parade sails through South Shields this summer

Visitors to the town will be submersed ‘under the sea’ as Maritime Mayhem forms the central theme of this year’s Summer Parade – a key highlight of the free three-month South Tyneside Festival.

Pirates, Poseidon, giant octopuses and sea serpents are just some of the colourful characters which will feature in the carnival-style parade alongside spectacular floats adorned with nautical colours and decorations, marching bands, stilt walkers, puppets, dance troupes and a Yellow Submarine!

The theme of this year’s event was chosen to celebrate the Borough’s rich maritime heritage with its international links through seafaring, marine engineering, boat restoration and shipbuilding, which included the first purpose-built lifeboat. It will also commemorate 150 years of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade as well as showcase familiar sights and sounds of South Tyneside as a vibrant coastal community.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “Preparations are well underway to bring Maritime Mayhem to the streets of South Shields.

“We have a long and proud tradition of seafaring, shipbuilding and lifesaving in South Tyneside and look forward to celebrating the strengths of our coastal community with a nautical themed parade. It is also fitting that in this milestone year we commemorate the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade whose members saved countless lives at sea.

“We are very excited about the event. The parade itself is much loved by residents and visitors alike and as a traditional part of the festival, brings vibrancy to our rich and proud heritage. It promises to be a real spectacle of colour and sound drawing crowds along to our stunning seafront.”

The parade will sail through South Shields on Saturday 2 July, on a voyage from the Town Hall along Fowler Street and Ocean Road to the seafront, where the entertainment will continue with live music and maritime themed family friendly activities in Bents Park.

South Tyneside Council has enlisted local community interest company, Creative Seed to direct the parade. The company has a proven track record for its creative community projects and has been involved in delivering previous summer parades as well as the Borough’s Christmas entertainment.

Sandy and Garner Harris, of Creative Seed, said: “We are very excited to be working with South Tyneside Council on what is one of the most iconic events in the annual festival and is always such a momentous display of local pride.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to play such a huge role in helping to bring South Tyneside’s maritime history and culture to life and we are looking forward to working closely with local community groups to put on a spectacular show for residents and visitors to South Shields.”

Creative Seed will be working with local schools, dance troupes and community groups over the coming months to develop creative ideas and choreography as well as fabulous costumes and colourful decorations for the floats. Interested groups are invited to attend a meeting taking place on Tuesday 8 March, at 6.30pm, at the portacabin in Bents Park, South Shields, to find out more.

Those who are unable to attend the meeting but would like for further information can call South Tyneside Council’s Events Team on (0191) 455 4031 or email events@southtyneside.gov.uk

The Summer Parade is being delivered thanks to sponsorship from local award-winning seafood business, Colmans Fish and Chips.

Richard Ord, Owner of Colmans, said: “We are huge supporters of the South Tyneside Festival and are delighted to be helping to deliver this year’s annual Summer Parade. Events such as these bring thousands of visitors to the area, which is a huge boost for the local economy.”

Councillor Kerr added: “We are very grateful for Colmans contribution to the parade. It’s through the support of businesses such as Colmans that we are able to stage such high profile events. We are also delighted to welcome Creative Seed on board to showcase their creative talents, theatrical background, imagination and artistic flair. They are sure to deliver an incredible performance, building excitement and joy to the crowds expected to line the parade route.”

The annual South Tyneside Festival, organised by South Tyneside Council, will return in June with its exciting FREE three month line up of live music in the Amphitheatre, open air Sunday concerts and family friendly events, entertainment and activities.

This includes a packed programme of brass band music by the seaside, a classical concert with Proms in the Park, family fun days and children’s entertainment with the return of the Kids Fun Fest.

Details of the entertainment programme including the Sunday Concert acts will be announced in due course.