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Page last updated at 13:33 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 14:33 UK
The countdown continues to the 2010 Tall Ships Race
The Tall Ships village
The Tall Ships village will be split into three different zones

Hartlepool will host the biggest event in its history in August as more than 60 vessels sail into the region for the 2010 Tall Ships Race.

Event organisers are making final preparations for the festival, which runs from 6 August to 10 August 2010.

So far 68 vessels have signed up for the event.

An estimated 1 million visitors are expected to visit the region for the race, and hotels across the area say the event has brought a surge in trade.

Fully booked

Julia Frater from Visit Tees Valley says the festival will provide a huge boost for the North East:

"Hotel bookings are 75% full in the Tees Valley, which is 25% up on last year, and Durham is showing the same amount of bookings as well.

"The restaurants and retailers in the area will all benefit, and we think the event will bring £15m to the entire area."

Almost all of the hotels in Hartlepool say they are fully booked, while some say they have limited rooms available.

There are some hotels which have been fully booked for a while.

The Marine Hotel in Seaton Carew says all 28 of its rooms were snapped up in the two weeks after it was announced the Tall Ships would be taking place in Hartlepool.

Life on stilts

Performing arts students for the Tall Ships Race
Student Laura Fulcher will be one of the performing arts team

Although they'll be the main attraction, the event isn't all about very large ships.

Accompanying the race will be a huge arts and entertainment programme featuring live music and comedy.

Echo and the Bunnymen, Doves and Ocean Colour Scene are among the bands that will be headlining the festival, while there will also be maritime themed street performers.

Steve Cousins from Let's Circus is part of the team teaching students from East Durham College in Peterlee the art of walking on stilts:

"For this project we're training the young local performers to be able to do professional quality street arts.

"We're all very excited but a bit anxious at the same time, it's quite a new thing strapping long bits of wood to your leg", he says.

Laura Fulcher is one of those that will be donning a full sailors outfit for the festival:

"At first I was really nervous, but when I saw everybody doing it I thought 'well I want to do that', and now I feel great.

"You need to make sure you're not standing still, you need to keep moving your legs like a little duck or else you completely lose your balance and fall over."

Michelle Daurat on Tall Ships
30 Apr 10 |  People & Places
Countdown to the Tall Ships 2010
30 Apr 10 |  Things to do
Unique art for Tall Ships arrival
19 Feb 10 |  People & Places



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