Hartlepool Waterfront Festival will see two days of fun, music, street theatre, puppetry, and arts and crafts at the Waterfont site on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Thousands of visitors from all over the North East are expected to flock to the event put on by culture chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council.
Aaron Bowman, the council’s events manager, said: “We’re delighted to welcome people back to this summer’s Hartlepool Waterfront Festival, we’ve been working extremely hard behind the scenes”.
This year, two festival projects are taking place in new locations including Gaia, a huge replica of Earth by internationally-renowned artist Luke Jerram, at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre.
The artwork, which has previously been displayed at the Natural History Museum in London, went on show this week and its time in Hartlepool has been extended until Saturday, July 16.
Luke created it to help highlight the issue of climate change.
He said: “I hope visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful and precious place. An ecosystem we urgently need to look after – our only home.”
Aaron added if people see only one thing Gaia should be it.
This year’s fifth waterfront festival is themed When The Boat Comes in celebration of hosting the Tall Ships Races this time next year, and will be the last one on the site before the work begins on the multi-million pound leisure facility The Highlight.
The council is looking to hear from potential Tall Ships volunteers, sail trainees, possible sponsors and businesses ahead of next year’s July 6-9 Races.
Various activity workshops for children and young people which were scaled back last year due to Covid will be back in full this weekend.
Other festival highlights include performances by local bands and groups on two stages including Ukrainian singer Svitlana Sanina.
There will also be an outdoor cinema showing Disney Pixar classics, an Elephant Rock puppet and aerial theatre from group Highly Sprung.
Visitors do not need to buy a ticket and is run on a Pay What You Decide basis.
For the full festival programme see www.hartlepoolwaterfrontfestival.com
To express an interest in involvement in the Tall Ships Races, visit www.tallshipshartlepool2023.co.uk