A strong and varied programme has one again lured the public in their droves to the 20th MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival at Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth over the Easter weekend.
Festival director Glenn van Eck said on Sunday that the turnout had been fantastic, despite less than perfect conditions over the first three days. He added that it was evident that attendees were from all the sectors of the community.
“A festival of this nature is at the mercy of the weather and at this time of the year it is rare to get four perfect days in a row.”
Van Eck said the hot weather on Friday ensured a great opening day. “Although we don’t have official attendance figures available, I can safely say that we were up compared to the same day last year.”
He said Friday’s day session was “exceptional” and the evening session “good”. “Several of our stallholders reached their targets for the whole festival in one day.”
Van Eck said the lifestyle market, which is one of the new additions, was very popular and had to be restocked by Friday evening.
Due to the unpleasant wind, he believed Saturday’s day session wasn’t as busy as the previous year’s. The night session, sparked by the traditional fireworks display, was however packed out, he said.
“We had reports of people having to park as far away as the service station in Strandfontein Road at the end of Second Avenue. As a whole, I think the day was probably better than last year’s.”
By late afternoon on Sunday, Hobie Beach was still a hive of activity despite the overcast and cool conditions.
Van Eck added that all the local artists that came through the auditioning process were well-received by the public.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Ski Classic got the water sport programme off to a flying start on day one. The event was won by Fish Hoek’s 2009 World Series Champion Dawid Mocke, with PE’s Michéle Eray taking the honours in the women’s race.
The inaugural Ocean Racing Series World Championships anchored the second day, with world champions Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria) and Melissa Gorman (Australia) winning the World Ocean Swim.
The World Ocean Paddle titles went to Ryan Louw (PE) and world champion Katie Pocock (New Zealand) with locals Marinus Johnson and Kirsty Weir victorious in the World Ocean Run.
Sunday morning’s Nelson Mandela Bay Bell Buoy Challenge open water swim over seven kilometres was dominated by Stoychev and Gorman.
“It was such a success, I believe it will grow into Africa’s largest long-distance ocean swim,” said the festival’s water sport coordinator Michael Zoetmulder. “To have competitors of the calibre of Petar (Stoychev) and Melissa (Gorman) certainly adds to our claim of being Africa’s water sport capital.
Van Eck said the Mango Groove concert would be the pinnacle of the final day’s programme. “It will end this year’s proceedings with a bang and we invite everyone to support the opening gig of the band’s first national tour in almost a decade.”
No serious incidents of crime have been reported, said Van Eck.
For more information, visit www.splashfestival.com or follow the event on Facebook or Twitter.
Full Stop Communications
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On behalf of:
MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival