Thousands of holidaymakers are expected to descend on the Port Elizabeth beachfront despite the chilly weather and scattered thundershowers expected for part of the Easter weekend.
Hoping to relive its heyday when families from around the country flocked to enjoy the watersports and entertainment of the annual Splash Festival, the four-day event starts on Friday and runs until Monday.
Revellers of all ages will be catered for and the organisers are promising family fun aplenty.
“People can look forward to high-impact sport on the beach, a variety of food stalls and fun for the family,” Darren Mungur, of organisers Soul Good, said.
The highlight will be the annual fireworks at Hobie Beach on Saturday evening. In the event of gale force winds or a downpour, the display will move to Sunday. Mungur said the aim was to bring the festival to its former glory through its beach- and watersports component.
“The highlight this year is the sporting events. We want to bring Splash back to where it started and we have three national sporting events this year,” he said.
The festival has partnered with the SA Jet Sports Boating Association, Volleyball SA and the Eastern Province Light Tackle Boat Angling Association for beach volleyball, the SA National Jet Ski Series and an angling competition.
The open line class, for boats only, will start at the harbour wall up to the beacon at Cape Recife. The volleyball kicks off at 8.30am from Friday to Sunday, with the SA National Jet Ski Racing Series and a five-a side Splash rugby event starting at the same time on Friday and Saturday.
Musicians including award-winning gospel singer Bethusile will be on the main stage on Friday from 2.20pm to 10.50pm. Saturday’s lineup includes hip-hop talent Kwesta as well as Soul Deep.
More than 30 local musicians will also feature. There will be children’s entertainment on Saturday and an Easter egg hunt on Sunday at 11am. Mungur said the 39 craft stalls reflected definite growth compared with previous festivals when the number of stalls averaged 26.
The World Wrestling Professionals (WWP) will also bring some flashy fights to the beachfront, and even one very special celebrity wrestling match. Algoa FM morning show presenter Daron Mann will step into the ring with ward councillor “Dangerous ” Dean Biddulph in what promises to be an epic sumo-suit match-up.
“I have spent hours in front of the TV to get into perfect shape for this match. I cannot wait to face Dean!”Mann said.
Biddulph, on the other hand, said Mann did not stand a chance against his new signature move: The Motion of No Confidence.
Despite the likelihood of cooler weather, Mungur said nearly 200 000 people were expected at the event over the four days. He urged festival-goers to be vigilant.
“This is a medium safety event; there will be a heavy SAPS presence and some metro police on site, but we encourage everyone to be vigilant and just keep safe,” Mungur said.
According to the South African Weather Service, cold weather is forecast for Friday with scattered showers on Saturday. Temperatures are set to rise on Sunday, leading up to much warmer weather on Monday.
Elsewhere in the city, there will be a family-friendly Easter egg hunt at the Robert Searle Park in Walmer Downs at 10am on Saturday. Another event likely to attract solid crowds is the SPAR Northern Areas Football Association’s annual Easter Tournament, which will be held at the Gelvandale soccer fields from Friday through to Monday.