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Waterfront will be brought to life in a festival of light

A historic Scots waterfront will twinkle with lights once again at the endof this month.

The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine’s award-winning four day winter spectacular illumination, Harbour Festival of Light, returns with even more sparkle and some giant, kaleidoscopic seaweed.

Over 15,000 visitors enjoyed the inaugural, award-winning illumination festival held at the Scottish Maritime Museum and across the Harbourside last year.

For this year’s event, the museum has increased the number of ticketed performances of the Light, Fire and Aerial Art Spectacular at the heart of the festival, which, once again, has received support as part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals events programme.

The Scottish Maritime Museum’s award-winning four day winter spectacular illumination, Harbour Festival of Light returns this month

Once again, Illumination: Harbour Festival of Light will begin on St Andrew’s Day with a free firework display over Irvine Harbour.

The pyrotechnics on Thursday, November 30 will mark Scotland’s national day, designed to celebrate the country’s history, culture and heritage with people both at home and abroad.

Visitors to the ticketed Light, Fire and Aerial Art Spectacular at the Scottish Maritime Museum will enjoy a fire show in front of the vast A Listed Linthouse as well as historic vessels SY Carola and puffer Spartan lit up, light installations, a Vintage Bus Bar and the monumental story of shipbuilding projected across the colossal façade.

Inside the glass-roofed ‘cathedral of engineering’, suspended from the original girders, Spinal Chord will perform gravity defying aerial acrobatics on rope silks and trapeze high above beautiful boats and awesome relics of maritime engineering. The illumination Light Trail will also twinkle from dusk till 10pm daily.

The Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine

Highlights of the Light Trail this year include a stunning, interactive light sculpture by light artists Squidsoup and the three metre high maquettes of the world’s largest equine sculptures, Andy Scott’s shimmering steel Kelpies.

‘On the Tide’, Squidsoup’s mesmerising light installation of sparkling ‘kelp’ will snake from the Harbourside out onto the River Irvine. Visitors will be able to direct the 1,000 multi-coloured beads on their phone or tablet.

Visitors will also discover brightly lit historic vessels including the small Tall Ship La Malouine and illuminated buildings and maritime engineering along the waterfront. The Museum’s beautiful George Wyllie inspired Paper Boat will twinkle on the water.

Over the next two months, the Scottish Maritime Museum will work in collaboration with Harbour Arts Centre and Ayrshire Youth Arts again to create a fabulous community Lantern Parade for everyone to enjoy on Saturday, December 2. Murray McDavid will also lead ticketed whisky tastings onboard a 1960s cutter boat with ‘Whisky Bard’ Robin Laing.

There’s lots of fun with the Scottish Maritime Museum’s Harbour Festival of Light,

Scottish Coastal Rowing members will bring their sparkling skiffs to illumination, racing them on Saturday afternoon before taking a gentler pace glittering on the water at night. Illumination, which also celebrates the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, will then come to a close with a second free firework display on the evening of Sunday, December 3.

David Mann, director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: ‘We are thrilled to bring illumination: Harbour Festival of Light back to celebrate St Andrew’s Day once again and showcase Ayrshire and Arran as an exciting, year-round destination.

‘Over 15,000 people came out to enjoy illumination last year. This year, we’ve an extra glittering programme lined up and again most events are free. It’s going to be a fabulous winter adventure and start to the festive season for people living in Ayrshire and travelling here from across Scotland and beyond.’

For more information, visit www.illuminationfestival.co.uk.