A clear-up team has worked day and night to get the site of The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016 reopened a day ahead of schedule.
Staff have been hard at work since Bank Holiday Monday to take down, pack up and clear away the infrastructure required to run the event.
Thousands of visitors flocked to Blyth over the holiday weekend to see the Tall Ships and to enjoy four zones of entertainment across a 1.5-mile site.
Northumberland County Council, in partnership with the Port of Blyth and Sail Training International, hosted the prestigious Regatta, one of the largest events ever held in the county and the only Regatta in the UK this year. Fergusons of Blyth, one of the UK’s leading privately-owned haulage companies and the biggest in the North East, was the principal sfor the event in celebration of its 90th anniversary.
Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture at the county council, said: “The Regatta has been a truly wonderful event for both residents and visitors, and pictures of it have been sent and seen all around the world.
“Staff, volunteers and contractors at the Regatta have worked incredibly hard to prepare the town and deliver the event, and to clear away the site after the Tall Ships sailed away.”
The Tall Ships fleet departed for Sweden on Monday, with 80 sail trainees joining the vessels at Blyth to take part in the race to Gothenburg.
Many of the trainees are from Northumberland and 33 are supported by county councillors.
Martin Lawlor, chief executive at Port of Blyth, said: “This has been an excellent cooperative effort by staff from the Port, county council and Sail Training International, working alongside the event team and volunteers to make the Regatta such a success.
It’s been incredibly hard work but it’s been so rewarding to see so many people enjoying what has been a world-class event for both Northumberland and Blyth.”
The event featured an extensive cultural programme, thanks to a £120,000 grant from Arts Council England and National Lottery funded grants.
Attractions included live music on three stages, circus and street theatre, as well as a spectacular fireworksand evening performance on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Activities stretched from the beach to the town centre and the weekend highlights included the Crew Parade and the re-imagining of the Blyth Carnival organised by Headway Arts, which involved 1,000 people. The carnival last took place in the late 1980s.
The Regatta culminated in the Parade of Sail on Monday afternoon, which attracted thousands of spectators to the coastline, when the Tall Ships sailed to St Mary’s Lighthouse from Blyth before starting the race to Gothenburg.
Zoe Bottrell, director of Culture Creative, delivery partners for the event, said: “It has been a fantastic weekend. It was always going to be a challenge bringing such a big event to Blyth, but the town rose to the challenge and our event management team worked alongside partners to bring the best of food, street theatre, entertainment and logistics to the event.
“The Tall Ships created a fantastic backdrop to our evening celebration with a specially created sound, light, fire and pyrotechnic show, one that will remain in people’s memories for a long time to come.”
A detailed analysis will be taking place to evaluate the event and the impact on the local and regional economy, which could be in excess of £8million.