Liverpool celebrates 175 years of transatlantic travel in July, with Transatlantic 175.
It won’t be just our cousins on the other side of the pond partying this American Independence Day, as Liverpool celebrates the links between the Mersey and Manhattan with a spectacular series of events on July 4 and 5.
Featuring everything from catwalks to classic car cavalcades, food to fashion, vintage to vinyl, Transatlantic 175 will celebrate the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and USA in the iconic spaces that line Liverpool’s World Heritage Site, including the Albert Dock, Mann Island and the Pier Head.
Organised by Culture Liverpool and curated by iconic British designer, Wayne Hemingway MBE, the events will all take place under the watchful eye of the Queen Mary 2, which will be adding a little regal grace to the River Mersey before setting sail for America on the Saturday evening.
Key events include:
Strut: The Very Big Catwalk (Saturday, July 4)
If you’ve ever thought you could give Kate Moss et al a run for their money, this event is your chance. On Saturday, July 4, in association with online retail giant Very.co.uk, Liverpool will attempt to smash Mexico City’s Guinness World Record for ‘Most Models on a Catwalk’.
Every aspect of Liverpool’s diverse DNA will strut their stuff on the stage, from canines to carers, brownies to belly dancers and hockey players to hospice workers. Schools, community groups and thousands of individuals, from brides, gym fanatics, twins and triplets to tats and beards, will all take their place on the record-breaking runway.
The 5,000 would-be models will come together to celebrate Liverpool and its diverse communities. Regardless of age, sex or background, the people of Liverpool will stand proud to show the world the individuals that make up the heart of the city.
Dance: The Very Big After Party (Saturday, July 4)
Also in association with Very.co.uk, Saturday evening will see the docks transformed into one of the biggest outdoor discos the UK has ever seen. Iconic Merseyside-born DJ Greg Wilson will take partygoers on a musical journey marking Liverpool’s history as an entry point for American music in the UK – right from the vinyl singles brought over by the Cunard Yanks to the soul, funk, disco and house music that’s been getting people out of their chairs and onto the dance floor for the past half century.
Browse: Vintage on the Dock (Saturday 4 and Sunday July 5)
Lovers of timeless music, fashion, art and design will have a field day at ‘Vintage on the Dock’, which will see the Albert Dock step back in time as it showcases the experiences, sights and sounds that define Liverpool’s 175 year relationship with transatlantic travel.
A bespoke version of Wayne Hemingway MBE’s highly acclaimed Vintage Festival, this event has everything. Visitors can smell the sea air with the stories of the Cunard Yanks as they re-live their journeys on board the famous liners, enjoy street performers and live bands lining the dock, listen to the sounds of the decades on the DJ bus, get dolled up Russell and Brown’s Vintage Hair and Beauty Salon and even take part in classic pop-up dances from the Charleston, Jive, Jitter Bug to the Lindy Hop.
Bargain hunters will love the Vintage Marketplace, where vintage traders from all over the UK will be selling fashion, homewares, vintage vinyl and memorabilia from the 1920s through to the 1980s. There will also be a series of hands-on creative workshops, where children and adults alike can learn to make do and mend like nana used to do.
Eat: Eat the Atlantic Food Festival (Saturday 4 and Sunday, July 5)
Taste buds will be tickled with the Eat the Atlantic Food Festival, a must for both families and foodies. Highlights include food demonstrations, street theatre, hands-on food art workshops, live music, children’s ‘fishy tales’ storytelling sessions and, of course, an array of delicious food, including a number of American diner-style eateries and international dishes served from vintage vehicles.
Fishy fun will be taking centre stage too. The first Atlantic travellers were not ships, but the humble Atlantic salmon, who have travelled thousands of miles, back and forth between the UK and North America to feed and to spawn for millennia. Visitors can find out about how they survive the epic journey, celebrate the fascinating story of Mersey salmon and best of all – sample some great salmon dishes cooked by talented local chefs.
And budding British bakers will also have a chance to show off their skills as part of ‘Transatlantic Cake Fest’ – which allows creative cooks to play their part in the celebrations by bringing along their own attempts at creating edible Liverpool and Manhattan landmarks, or trying their hand at making edible items for the map there and then.
Get Emotional (Saturday, July 4)
The first day of the Transatlantic 175 celebrations will conclude when the Queen Mary 2 departs the Mersey River and sets its sights towards the bright lights of New York City in a recreation of the 1840s maiden voyage that originally sailed to Boston. The vessel, its passengers and the Pier Head audience will all be involved in an unforgettable, patriotic experience that is sure to go down in the maritime history books.
The big bang finale will include a massive firework and light display as the city waves farewell in style to the majestic cruise liner, as she sets sail across the Mersey to the shores of Manhattan.
Watch: The Classic Car Cavalcade (Sunday, July 5)
Automobile aficionados will love The Classic Car Cavalcade, as 175 vintage vehicles from Europe and the USA cruise through the city’s streets. The Albert Dock will also host a display of classic cars. Expect to see a 1966 Batmobile to John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud!
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