#MARITIME FESTIVAL – The John Barry Maritime Festival takes place on the 23rd and 24th of June 2012 on Wexford Quay, celebrating Wexford's culture and heritage on a seascape setting in the heart of Wexford town. Wexford maritime culture will be showcased with programmed events included a rowing regatta of traditional sailing cots to modern fibre glass rowing boats, sea kayaking, canoeing, sailing and raft races on view from Wexford Quay marina. A 26000 square foot exhibition centre will house over 100 handcrafted model boats, interactive media exhibitions of local maritime activites (John Barry, Irish Naval Service, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and the Wexford Lifeboat). The harbour itself will be a visual array of boats and the RNLI, Coastguard, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and Met Eireann will also be on the quay providing information and demostrations to the public on marine safety.
The festival celebrates and brings recognition to Wexford born Commodore John Barry, father of the US Navy. Links with the US navy are being established and a contingent from the US Navy will visit and partake in the festival. The festival hopes to build upon this link with its sister city Annapolis, Maryland. An annual John Barry Memorial Ceremony officiated by Major of Wexford Davy Hynes brings national and international dignitories. Exhibitions on John Barry, a visual installation of a John Barry themed image on the Ballast Office building and the participation of US and Irish Navy will also highlight the important heritage connection of Wexford and John Barry.
Wexford maritime art culture will be showcased in various art galleries around Wexford town, an Art in the Open event on Wexford Quay and childrens art workshops. Musical and dance entertainment during the day lasts the entire weekend with traditional Irish music and local dance groups. Wexford local food producers will be showcasing their fresh produce on the quay to develop awareness of local artisan products that are specific to Wexfords food culture.
The family orientated festival includes childrens arts and crafts activites, a pirate treasure hunt and scavenger hunt, dancing and outdoor fun (rock climbing wall, rope climbing wall, sumo wrestling, gladiators etc). An awareness of local maritime attractions will be raised through the display of races, exhibitions and stalls of the various groups, including Shielbaggan Outdoor Adventure Centre, Rowing Clubs, Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club.