King’s Lynn Hanse festival hailed as a huge success

Fireworks light up the sky over King's Lynn to celebrate International Hanse Day. ANL-150517-222253009
Fireworks light up the sky over King's Lynn to celebrate International Hanse Day. ANL-150517-222253009
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Lynn was bustling with maritime merriment at the weekend when the town stepped back in time to celebrate its rich heritage and international connections.

The quayside and town centre streets were brimming with music and colour, as hundreds of people turned out for one of the biggest and best Hanse Festivals yet.

Hanse Festival in Kings Lynn ANL-150518-063940009

Hanse Festival in Kings Lynn ANL-150518-063940009

A packed programme of activities provided something for all the family, with a medieval parade, tours on board a replica Hanseatic ship, spectacular fireworks and historical dances and demonstrations just some of the popular attractions.

Nick Daubney, leader of West Norfolk Council, which organised the event with Lynn’s Hanseatic Club, said it was “an absolutely terrific weekend”.

“Tours of the Kamper Kogge, the 14th century Hanseatic trading ship, have been a particularly popular attraction,” he said.

“As well as the festival bringing people into Lynn, we’re also celebrating an important part of the town’s heritage. It’s great to see people here enjoying themselves; it’s a big statement for the town we live in.”

West Norfolk Mayor Barry Ayres meets visitors at the Hanse Festival, in one of his last civic duties before handing over the chains of office on Thursday.

West Norfolk Mayor Barry Ayres meets visitors at the Hanse Festival, in one of his last civic duties before handing over the chains of office on Thursday.

The festival marked the town’s 10th anniversary as a member of the new Hanse, which is reinventing the trading networks that were traditionally very important for business in Lynn.

Friday saw the town’s first Hanse Business Convention, but Saturday and Sunday made way for true festival spirit, with the sound of sea shanties around every corner.

The weather stayed warm and sunny as visitors enjoyed street theatre and medieval demonstrations, as well as live music on King’s Staithe Square from bands including Jessie’s Ghost, Lithuanian-band Marga Musika, Roving Crows and Icelandic group Arstidir.

There was also a food market on Saturday Market Place, and other attractions including firebreathers, have-a-go archery sessions and guided walks.

The King's Lynn Waites entertain at the Hanse Festival.

The King's Lynn Waites entertain at the Hanse Festival.

Lynn Art Centre hosted interactive arts workshops throughout the weekend where visitors learned about the history of Lynn as a trading port, and got creative with Hanseatic-themed crafts such as creating paper boats inspired by Hanseatic Kogge.

There was a spectacular fireworks display along the waterfront on Saturday night, and Sunday saw the culmination of the Hanse Crazy Composers project with performances at Lynn Minster and King’s Staithe Square.

About 70 pupils from Lynn’s Whitefriars Primary Academy performed some special pieces with the newly-formed Hanse Orchestra of King’s Lynn, which is made up of leading professional baroque musicians from the UK and guests from other Hanseatic countries – a unique initiative in the Hanseatic world.