Hamburg (dpa/lno) – With more than 800,000 visitors, Hamburg celebrated its first port birthday after the corona pandemic. Although there were significantly fewer guests than in previous years, Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs Michael Westhagemann (independent) was pleased with the result. The visitors could have experienced carefree hours. “At the same time, showmen, the tourism industry, hotels and restaurants again had numerous guests and thus good earning opportunities after the failures of the past few years,” said the senator on Sunday. More than a million visitors were counted at the port birthday in May 2019.
The maritime folk festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021. The third cancellation for the traditional date in May followed last January. The postponement to September was finally announced in April. The motto this time was “Cast off, let’s celebrate again”. Partner country was Croatia. Despite the changeable weather, his country’s festival with dance, music and specialties was very well received by the visitors, explained the Croatian Consul General in Hamburg, Kristijan Tusek. “We are delighted with the positive response from everyone involved.”
A highlight of the folk festival was a light show with fireworks on Saturday evening. According to the police, 50,000 people watched the spectacle. A special attraction was the cruise ship “AIDAprima”, which was in front of the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken. A play of light was projected onto the ship, and the ship itself changed its lighting on board to the beat of the music.
The 833rd port anniversary came to an end on Sunday afternoon with the departure parade. The “star guest” of the folk festival, the Polish sailing school ship “Dar Mlodziezy”, also took part. It drove behind the fire-fighting boat “Branddirektor Westphal”, which said goodbye with powerful water fountains. Among the more than 100 watercraft were several museum ships and boats from the navy, federal police and customs. In 2019, around 300 ships took part in the parade, including the Russian tall ships “Mir” and “Kruzenshtern”. The Russian four-marst barque “Sedov” had led the departure parade at the time.
The police spoke of a peaceful event. Only a few minor crimes were reported. During checks in the weapons ban area in St. Pauli, the federal police found five knives, two batons, a brass knuckles and two irritant containers. Officers arrested seven suspected pickpockets. Two other men were wanted on warrants. According to a spokesman for the federal police, five people who were checked were staying illegally in Germany .
The Hamburg Port Birthday has been celebrated since 1977 and is considered one of the largest port festivals in the world. Shipping enthusiasts will not have to wait long for the next edition of the spectacle: the next port birthday will be celebrated from May 5th to 7th, 2023.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220917-99-798774/4