City of York Council’s York 800 Flotilla will launch on the River Ouse on Sunday 26 August with York’s Paralympic Lantern taking pride of place.
The rescheduled event will feature over 200 boats of varying shapes and sizes and variously powered by oars, engines or paddles, cruising the Ouse from 12.30pm until 4pm.
York’s Paralympic Lantern, which arrives in the city on Friday 24 August for Celebrating Ability Day at Energise leisure centre, will be borne by one of York’s disabled sports people on one of the hundreds of boats creating the flotilla. Amongst it will be crews of disabled sailors from Sunderland and York sailing in Canadian canoes, who will help raise the profile of disabled sporting achievements and opportunities in the city.
The flotilla will be lead by canoes, including members of York’s Canoe Club, and then rowers, many from York City Rowing Club whose members include Olympic medal winner Tom Ransley. These will be followed by bigger powered boats, such as the cruisers of Naburn Marina and York Motor Yacht Club, and then will arrive the narrow boats and barges – including a rare German-built Amphicar – with a number of inflatable craft ending the parade.
The boats will include craft from Goole and Doncaster as well as those belonging to members of Ripon Boat Club – one of the UK’s largest inland waterway boat clubs – and the North Riding Branch of the Inland Waterways Association, many of which have navigated the region’s waterways to get to York and support this exceptional event.
The flotilla will process on the right hand side of the river from Naburn towards Clifton where the boats will turn around to take another turn back through the city centre. People will be able to watch and cheer the flotilla – and the lantern – from any safe vantage point along the riverbanks between Naburn Marina and Clifton Ings.
The city’s civic party and special guests will be aboard the first boat to appear at 12:50 and will moor at Queen’s Staith from where they will view and judge the best-dresses boat. The first canoes are likely to pass them at around 13:00.
Cllr Sonja Crisp, City of York Council Cabinet member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, commented: “The flotilla will be a spectacular addition to the city’s York 800 celebrations, a grand finale to our Festival of the Rivers and gives added sparkle to the Bank Holiday weekend. It’s an event no-one should miss and will be one of the highlights of this memorable year.
“Having the Paralympic Lantern on board the York 800 Flotilla helps shed more light on the achievement of York’s disabled athletes and sportspeople and the opportunities open to them in the city.”
There will also be family entertainment in Tower Gardens and on the Eye of York including a barrel organ, demonstrations and rides from 11:00, while the city’s riverside bars and restaurants will be open for diners wanting a window on the river.
Originally scheduled for Sunday 8 July during Charter Weekend, the flotilla had to be postponed because of high river levels after prolonged heavy rainfall.