The 20th MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival this Easter weekend is set to drum up enthusiasm and a sporty vibe as Port Elizabeth prepares to welcome the 2010 Fifa World Cup to its shores.
A two-year strategic joint-venture with MTN – Africa’s first global sponsor of a Fifa World Cup – has elevated the continent’s premier seaside festival to new heights, say organisers.
Beach soccer, volleyball and wrestling, Calypso cricket, powerboating, five international water sport events, live entertainment, stalls and a variety of beach and kids’ activities will set the scene for “Four Days of Fun & Freedom”, according to festival director Glenn van Eck.
He says the event – at Hobie Beach from April 2 to 5 – has grown from an obscure beginning two decades ago to two stages, a water sport and three beach arenas. The more than 190 stalls include a Food Zone, World of Cricket arena and Lifestyle, Crafts in Action and Soccer City marquees.
Ntombi Mhangwani, MTN’s senior brand manager for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, says the festival is a unique opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to social development in the Eastern Cape.
She says the festival provides an opportunity for families and friends to come together in a safe environment. “Through our involvement we are making a difference in the lives of our target market and giving back to a large number of our customers.”
The strong focus on soccer is to promote MTN’s association with the 2010 Fifa World Cup, according to Mhangwani.
Maria Hermans, the metro’s chairperson for recreation and culture, says the Splash Festival is one of their anchor events. “The brand has steadily been growing and we should intensify our efforts to make it even better.”
She says the international component proves the organisers’ intention to add new aspects and also reinforces the metro’s status as Africa’s water sport capital. “This can only lead to more tourists visiting the metro.”
Hermans says when events grow to this extent, the city reaps enormous economic benefits and “. . . more can be invested in the development of our communities”.
International water sport events include the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Ski Classic, the inaugural Ocean Racing Series World Championships, the Nelson Mandela Bay Bell Buoy Challenge open water swim, the King of Nelson Mandela Bay elimination race and a freestyle jet ski competition.
Van Eck says Mango Groove will be one of the highlights on the live entertainment programme, which will also feature Gerrie Pretorius, Gang of Instrumentals, Irish jazz band Organics and the traditional fireworks display.
A Comedy Festival – introducing Michael “the fly” Arthur, The Improvables, Tall Mo, Barry Hilton and Loyiso Gola – is a new addition to the programme. The Bay FM DJ Search also makes a welcome return.
On the kids’ menu is theatre, magic, comic relief and other activities, says Van Eck. “The Stage World production, Pinocchio’s Easter Escapades, is sure to be a hit.”
The Chevrolet Warriors will also make a special appearance, handing out 100 signed cricket bats at the World of Cricket arena.
Van Eck reiterates that the festival, which attracted an estimated 500 000 visitors last year, is free family fun. “It is for the community, by the community.”
For more information, contact the festival office on 041 393 4844 or visit www.splashfestival.com.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival