The only local MLA to attend the official opening, the event is part of summer-long programme of events aimed at attracting tourists into the Strangford Area. Following shortly after the successful Portaferry Gala Week, the area is set to welcome tourists and participants from as far away as Tasmania.
Kellie Armstrong MLA said: “This is a fantastic event for Strangford Lough, giving us the opportunity to showcase the lough and surrounding area to people from all across the world.
“With so much to offer it’s wonderful to see Strangford Lough bring used as part of a celebration of coastal life, with food tours, kids art workshops, bush craft and the chance to sail on a tall ship all available during the course of the event.
“The next few days will see Skiffs – coastal rowing boats – built by local people race against teams from as far away as Tasmania and I would encourage as many people as possible to come along to Delamont Park outside Killyleagh to support the daily races.
“After a rough few months the Lough area is really back on its feet, with the reopened Portaferry Hotel thriving, the Strangford Lough festival at the Shore this weekend and the long overdue re-opening of Exploris next month – a move secured through a hard fought campaign.
“With a brilliant vibe and a positive and fun atmosphere for the whole family, Strangford is well on its way to being one of Northern Ireland best tourist hubs.”