Sunderland's Tall Ships visitor numbers are announced
Around 1.2million people visited the Tall Ships Races during the Sunderland leg, it has been announced.
The figure has been revealed and it relates to the five days that the ships were in the city which was from Tuesday, July 10, to Saturday, July 14.
The statistic has just been unveiled within 72 hours of the 50-plus fleet leaving Wearside for the next leg of the races to Esbjerg.
Before the races, experts had predicted up to 1.5million people could come to the city.
It is still said to be one of the biggest events in Sunderland’s history - and what was the biggest free festival of entertainment to be held anywhere in the UK this year.
Councillor John Kelly, cabinet member for communities and culture at Sunderland City Council said: “We are delighted with the success of The Tall Ships Races, which showcased Sunderland at its best.
“We estimate that visitor figures are in the region of 1.2million, based on numbers in the event zones, on public transport and using our park and ride facilities.
“Those visitors were lucky enough to see some truly spectacular sights, from the ships themselves and the Parade of Sail to fantastic performances, including the high-wire walk across the River Wear, which will be remembered for a long time to come.
“I hope a lot of them return to Sunderland, for more world-class events, and also to enjoy the many other attractions our city has to offer.”
As the week progressed, ever-increasing crowds poured in for highlights which included;
* More than 50 ships arriving on Wearside from Tuesday onwards for a five-day stay, including the 350ft long and 170ft tall Russian giant Mir - the biggest ship in the fleet.
* The visit of the Princess Royal to the National Glass Centre. She also toured some of the tall ships on the first official day of Tall Ships Sunderland.
* On the same day, thousands of Wearside schoolchildren bid to break the world record for the most people ever to take part in a live-streamed Big Sing at the same time - and they did it!
* The hour-long Welcome Parade on Wednesday last week which saw more than 600 people march through the Port of Sunderland.
* The crew parade on Thursday last week which saw hundreds of sail trainees march, sing and dance behind a procession of Hells Angels and stilt walkers. They were greeted by huge crowds from the Civic Centre, down Fawcett Street, over the Wearmouth Bridge, and down to St Peter’s Riverside.
* A packed programme of more than 200 live acts which stretched throughout the week.
* Hundreds of sail trainees arriving in Sunderland, ready to begin their adventure to Esbjerg.
* Cirque Bijou’s spectacular tightrope walk above the River Wear.
* And on the last day, the sight of 50 ships leaving Wearside as they sailed out to sea. Watching them were massive crowds which packed into Roker, Seaburn, the riverside, the coast, Cliffe Park, and further up the seafront to see them off. There were crowds including the 1,000 who packed on to Roker Pier.
Statements were expected to be released in reaction to the visitor numbers soon.