Red petticoats and more besides at Sea Ilfracombe 2011

Joseph Bulmer

THE legend of red petticoats seeing off a boatload of French invaders will be one of many highlights to enjoy when the Sea Ilfracombe Maritime Festival returns this September.

Following the success of the first ever festival last year, organisers have put together more than 50 events to celebrate the town’s maritime heritage and culture.

Music, food and entertainment will be joined by rock pool rambles, walks, exhibitions, diving and gig rowing taster sessions plus guided historical food and restaurant trails and more besides over the weekend of September 2-4.

A number of key new events are being planned for this year, including a triathlon plus the re-enactment of the day in 1797 when, local legend has it, a French frigate was spotted off Ilfracombe.

With most of the town’s men away, it was left to the quick thinking women to put their red petticoats around their shoulders and march up and down Capstone, convincing the raiders to give the town and its garrison of “soldiers” a wide berth.

The tale inspired the choice of name for the Ilfracombe Red Petticoats clog dancing group.

Other events during the festival include a pirate family day at Ilfracombe Museum on Friday, September 2 plus the acclaimed Kimbers Men shanty group at the Landmark Theatre that evening.

There will also be a ceilidh dance at The Pavilion with Bloatertown.

Further musical entertainment will be held on the Oldenburg on Saturday and in the Lifeboat house on Sunday and a children’s Pirate Disco on the Saturday.

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