THOUSANDS of families, businesses and boat-enthusiasts flocked to Southampton over the weekend for Britain’s biggest festival of boating.

Southampton International Boat Show launched on Friday where Georgia Toffolo was joined by the British Olympic Sailing Team to officially open the event.

Cancelled last year due to the pandemic, the 52nd International Boat Show was relaunched with a few changes.

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The event features new zones tailored to Watersports, Dinghy, Classic & Day Boat and On The Water activities and the Festival Green is perfect for relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere.

The entrance to the show has also been brought further into the City Centre.

One festival-goer, Julie Seagrave who lives near Romsey, was relaxing on the Festival Green with her family.

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She said: "We love the Boat Show and we try to come every year.

"Even when the children were really small they still enjoyed it.

"I think that bringing the entrance further into the town was a really good idea because you don't feel as far away from everything.

"We are really enjoying the Green a specially as the weather is so nice."

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Giles Semper, executive director of Go! Southampton, said that moving the entrance to the show was "inspired" and that the Boat Show added to a list of events that Southampton has "desperately craved.

He told the Daily Echo: "The idea of bringing the entrance of the Boat Show up Western Esplanade is inspired and seems to integrate the show into the city in a way we’ve never seen before.

"British Marine’s own economic analysis shows how much revenue the show brings to our city and it’s obvious today that this is the case.

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"Visitors and exhibitors are using our hotels, our restaurants and our shops in decent numbers.

"Added to the gradual resurgence of the cruise industry, we are seeing commercial life as we know it return to Southampton.

"Following Pride and last weekend’s sporting heroics, and with our own Re:Claim Festival in two weeks’ time, The Boat Show is giving Southampton the month of great events it has desperately craved."