A good one million revelers and splendid weather are expected between May 5th and 8th for the world’s greatest harbor festival.
Traditionally, the celebration is opened with a service at St. Michael’s Church, a Hamburg landmark. Afterwards, Mayor Olaf Scholz officially rings in the festival with the ship’s bell of the three-masted barque Rickmer Rickmers. The frigate Brandenburg will lead the putting-in parade. Just as spectacular will be the putting-out parade to be led by the gaff-rigged schooner Santa Maria Manuela from Portugal.
A total of 300 ships are expected for the port’s anniversary, from windjammers to yawls. And, as every year, the tugboats will be performing a ballet on the Elbe River to the strains of the Vienna Waltz. It’s a chance for the skippers of these 5000-horsepower boats to show off their skills, turning aquatic pirouettes right at the water’s edge. Hamburg is Germany’s largest seaport and one of the oldest on earth.
A program highlight this year will be the christening of AIDA Cruises’ new flagship the AIDAprima on Saturday. Young actress Emma Schweiger is to do the honors on Saturday. In the evening, the AIDAprima and the AIDAaura will tie up at the quay, and a big fireworks display tops it all off, before the two cruise ships set sail.
This year’s partner country for the harbor festival is Hungary, presenting a colorful stage program on the Kehrwiederspitze alongside such culinary delights as kettle goulash.