Staithes and Runswick RNLI has announced its programme of events for its annual Lifeboat Weekend which gets underway tonight.
More than 3,000 visitors are expected to descend on the fishing villages to enjoy the attractions and displays laid on by the lifesaving charity.
Festivities are launched tonight at Staithes with the famous Nightgown Parade. Led by a jazz band, lifeboat crew and villagers dress up in white nightgowns – men included - and traditional Staithes bonnets to form a musical parade from the Staith, along the cobbled High Street and up the bank to Staithes Athletic Club.
On Saturday both villages (Runswick Bay, 10.30am and Staithes, 2pm) will see dramatic displays of rescue exercises combining Staithes and Runswick’s high speed Atlantic 75 ‘Pride of Leicester’ lifeboat with Whitby’s all-weather lifeboat, the Redcar lifeboat, RNLI Lifeguards from Whitby and Sandsend, and Coastguard Rescue Officers from Staithes and Skinningrove.
Staithes beach will be a hive of activity with the White Rose Canoe Club, dinghy sailing with the Runswick Bay Sailing Club, and Whitby Surf School. On the Staith, the Coble and Keelboat Society will be showing off one of the coast’s few remaining traditional sailing cobles. There will be stalls, lifeboat souvenirs and memorabilia on sale.
Staithes boathouse will be showing a new documentary on the illustrious history of the lifeboat station and volunteers and supporters will provide a running barbeque and refreshments on the Staith.
At 4pm, after a display by Redcar and Hartlepool Sea Cadets, Staithes Harbour will come alive with the splashes and soakings of the Raft Race in a hotly contested dash from the Lifeboat Slipway to the beach. The Fancy Dress Parade launches a non-stop programme of Saturday evening entertainment at 6pm, followed by dancing, music and street theatre.
A fireworks finale from Staithes’ North Pier tops off the day. Festivities resume at Staithes at 11am on Sunday morning when crowds vie for the best vantage point to catch the duck race as 800 plastic yellow ducks are cheered down Roxby Beck to the finishing line at the Lifeboat slipway. Finally, the event closes on a poignant note with twin open-air services of thanksgiving at Runswick Bay (3pm) and Staithes (5.30 pm) lifeboat houses.
Lifeboat weekend co-ordinator Colin Harrison said: “Last year’s Lifeboat Weekend was one of the friendliest, most enjoyable events and we have a better programme lined up this year.
“But over and above all the fun, there’s a vital message about safety at sea and the seaside. Our crews have recently won awards for saving lives in Staithes harbour and we couldn’t carry on that vital work without the amazing public support we get. We don’t take a penny from Government.
“So we welcome one and all with enormous thanks to everyone at both Staithes and Runswick who give up their time to make it all happen. It’s a great party and one with an invaluable purpose.”