The Nautical Festival is not to be missed!

Lyn Aitken

It’s that time of year again when St Francis residents and visitors alike celebrate all things nautical with the annual Nautical Festival held at Port St Francis from the evening of Friday April 29th through to Sunday 1st May. This is a not-to-be-missed weekend of fun and entertainment for the whole family literally offering something for everyone.

Nautical festival team spokesperson Janet Harrison said, “Our committee, the Port St Francis Owner’s Association and St Francis Tourism have gone to every length to ensure that every facility and amenity is available to provide our festival goers with a wonderful experience. There is literally something for everyone and we are encouraging our entire community to participate in the spirit of the nautical theme with all sorts of prizes available for innovative ideas.”

The festival will get into full swing from Friday evening with the spectacular chokka boat light display at sunset when at least twenty boats will light up the whole harbour. The official opening ceremony will take place 10 a.m. on April 30th with a flag parade by the TS Kromme Sea Cadets and finishing with a SANCCOB penguin release from the Harbour. On display will be photography, quilts and other arts and crafts, beautiful model boats and  even an educational  live shark tank on the square! And if Crafters’ market stalls at the Port will offer irresistible mementoes, gifts and keepsakes.

Plenty of refreshment will be on hand at the various restaurants, bars and tea gardens. Throughout the weekend DJ Shane Barnes, live music and Billy’s Bar will be in full swing at the Port. The proceeds from the tea garden at the Port are in aid of the SPCA this year so well worth supporting!

Pre festival events include the Harbour Master’s Port clean-up on Wednesday 27th from 9 until 4 p.m. This is open to all divers, scuba and snorkel, both individuals and clubs. The idea is to get as many divers as possible into the water to start cleaning up underwater. This is a great community project with super prizes to be won.

The children will not want to miss the SANCCOB Kiddies’ Festival on Thursday 28th from 3 to 7 p.m. at SANCCOB Rehabilitation Centre in Cape St Francis which is to be followed by an outdoor movie night showing “Surf’s Up”

“We are very excited to be including  inflatable zip-line, obstacle course and sumo suits this year,” added Harrison. “Another new event aimed at our pet lovers is a dog walk from the Port in aid of SPCA on Sunday morning. Participants are asked to bring a bag of dog food, dog blanket or collars in lieu of an entry fee.”

“Sportsmen and women will have a number of events to choose from including the annual Rotary Makro Golf Festival played over two days on both the St Francis Bay Golf Course and the prestigious St Francis Links. Also on offer are bowls, tennis and volley ball at Quayside. We are really thrilled that the whole St Francis community has thrown its support behind the Festival this year.”

To further whet visitor’s appetites, the energetic can kick off the weekend with a 5km Park Run on Saturday morning at the Links and take in the Colour Run on Sunday morning at the Port in aid of the SANCCOB.

Keen anglers will not want to miss the St Francis Festival Fishing Challenge hosted jointly by the St Francis Rod, Reel & Boat Club and the St Francis Boat and Angling Club where anglers will compete for fantastic prizes for the largest Edible Fish (game and bottom fish) and the Largest Weighed Fish for both Adults and Juniors under 16. Entry is free and registration takes place on Friday 29th April. Call Tim Christy to register on 082-569-3750.

For those looking for gentler pursuits try a canal or sea cruise, browse the Village market on Saturday morning, or take in one of the super music events at the Port, Christy’s Catch in the village and the new Rock Lily in Cape St Francis.

“This is a very long holiday weekend so book your accommodation now to avoid disappointment and look out for specials on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to pack your nautical look attire!” continued Harrison.

There is still time to book market stalls at the Port over the weekend – e-mail for more information. Music buskers are welcome too and should call Bridget Rogers on 072 386 0259 to secure a spot.

Follow our Facebook Page( for the full programme and all registration or booking information. Or call St Francis Tourism 042 294 0076 –