The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy will return next year, but with a reduced capacity for visitors and social distancing restrictions in place.
The annual event was called off this June, with such gatherings impossible in lockdown.
However, it will return next summer as organisers aim to “maintain the boat festival’s momentum and safeguard its future”.
David Urquhart, chairman of Portsoy Community Enterprise, said: “This isn’t a case of being blasé and staging the festival regardless of what’s happening with Covid-19.
“Health and safety considerations will be at the forefront of our minds in the organising and delivery of the 2021 festival.
“We will follow official guidance and plan accordingly, with the health and safety of our participants and audiences central to all our proposals.”
The festival was first held in 1993, initially as a one-off event to mark the 300th anniversary of Portsoy harbour.
Since then the two-day event has become a mainstay in the Scottish events calendar, usually attracting an international audience of around 16,000 people to Portsoy each year.
The event was named Best Cultural Event/Festival category at 2019’s Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards and boat owners from across the north attend to show off their traditional vessels.
And with 2021 being designated as the “year of coasts and water”, there’s hopes all eyes will be on the north as the Visit Scotland tourism board helps shine a spotlight on areas with a coastal connection or maritime past.
“Our vision is to further develop Portsoy as a destination and, as one of the region’s leading summer events, the festival is pivotal in supporting these ambitions,” Mr Urquhart added.
“Planning for a festival that is suited for the times will see us move forward with a positive outlook.
“We realise there is a risk that the festival may still be cancelled but if we don’t try, it definitely won’t go ahead. We think that is a risk that is worth taking.”
The 2021 festival will take place on Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27, in a format tailored to suit whichever restrictions remain in place at the time.
Organisers aim to be able to provide elements of what makes the festival such a draw, including local music, crafts, food and drink, children’s entertainment, and seafaring activities.
To find out more, people can visit www.stbfportsoy.org or sign up for the next committee meeting, being held online, on Tuesday, January 12, by emailing: email@example.com