Tall ship will be star attraction at Cornish river festival
A record number of boats, including an historic, century-old tall ship, are to set sail to launch a Cornish river festival.
The flotilla will kick off the Fal River Festival today with a voyage from Truro to Falmouth, carrying a ceremonial cask of beer from Skinner's Brewery. The 116ft Bessie Allen, an eight-sail trading ketch built in 1904, will lead the merry fleet in an event which marks the start of ten days of festivities. Organisers of this year's festival say the beer fleet is being scaled up to a "beer armada" in the biggest ever opening to the celebrations.
Adam Purser of festival day sponsor, Classic Sailing, said: "It's a great event and it's fantastic to see so many boats and crafts of all shapes and sizes taking part and bringing a real sense of celebration into Falmouth from the water.
"We're really looking forward to being part of one of Cornwall's best festivals."
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Truro and Penwith College Fal River Festival's co-ordinator Dot Peryer said the collection of boats "sticks in people's minds and gets them in the mood for the festivities that follow".
The festival celebrates life on and around the Fal and features around 150 events over ten days, regularly attracting more than 100,000 visitors. Taking in art, music, food, sport, literature, film, history and nature, it has become one of Cornwall's biggest festivals.
Highlights include the Castle to Castle Swim on Sunday, June 2, when around 300 competitors will tackle the mile-long stretch of water from Pendennis Castle to St Mawes. There is also the three-day Fal Fish Festival, which runs from this Saturday until Monday and features some of Cornwall's best chefs.