Dias & Port Festival 2018

On 3 February 1488, St. Blaise’s day, Bartolomeu Dias landed at Mossel Bay, which Dias named Aguada de São Bras (St. Blaise’s Watering Place).

The first Dias Festival I attended was in 1988 for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Dias’ landing.  During the weekend of 1 to 4 February 2018 it was once again time for the Dias & Port Festival.  This year the festival was expanded to include two festival grounds…Santos and the harbour.
At the Dias festival in 1988 with my brother and sister
Looking at the Carvel in the harbour
Dias Festival @ Santos

On Saturday morning I took my son JW to the festival ground at Santos.  Entrance to the festival ground and all the shows were free.  JW had no interest to sit down and watch a show.  He just wanted to explore and play.  We walked through a lot of stalls selling toys, clothes, food, etc and then reached the play ground.

JW ran to the nearest ride and I had to quickly stop him.  After catching him we went to buy tokens.  The tokens for the rides were R10 per token.  Luckily for me most of the rides for the young children were only 1 token per ride but some rides are 3 tokens per person.  So it can get very expensive after a few rides.  JW loved it. 

It was a warm day and all the rides are in the sun.  After a while we went to buy ice cream and cool drinks and sat on the ground in the shade to eat.  There were lots of chairs to sit at the stage but nowhere else.  At the stages it was very noisy and we did not want to sit there to eat.  It would be a good idea to put some tables between the stalls and/or play area.

What we loved:
·         Free entrance
·         Lots of shows to watch and entertainment for the kids
·         Lots of food options

What we did not like:
·         No place to sit except at stage
·         Cars driving inside the festival ground

Port Festival @ Harbour

The harbour is usually closed for the public and I could not let the chance to visit the harbour go by.  So on Sunday JW and me went to the harbour for the “Port” part of the festival. 

It did not start good.  We had to park near the Bayside shopping centre and then walk down to the harbour.  This was fine when we arrived but when we went home I had to carry a tired 3 year old boy for a long way and up the bridge to get back to our car. 

It got worse.  The map was not very clear about where everything was.  There was nobody to help at the information stand at the entrance of the harbour.  The Portnet workers at the gates were not helpful at all and we were tired of walking by the time we found out were to go.  It would help if there was banners at the entrance of the harbour to show people where to go.

There were only a few stalls on the harbour on the way to the main stage.  I think 10 maximum, mostly selling food and drinks. We walked past the stalls and the main stage to the Boat and Tugboat rides. 

This was the best thing about the Port festival.  The rides were R 20 per adult and R10 per child.  I paid and we got on the boat but before the boat departed JW changed his mind.  He did not want to be on the boat.  We got off and the kind ticket seller refunded our money.

We then bought some food and cold drinks and sat in the street under an umbrella to eat.  Once again the only seating was at the stage and no other place to sit and eat.

What we loved:
·         Free entrance
·         Tug and boat rides

What we did not like:
·         No signs of where to go
·         Parking far away
·         No place to sit except at stage

Seven Seas Boat Trips

Seven Seas Boat Trips

Other activities

The Dias festival also includes a lot of other activities we did not attend.  They included a fishing competition, maritime museum tours, Street parade (We did see some of the colourful floats when we drove to Santos but did not attend the parade) and even a classical music event at the Dias Museum.  There really is something for everyone. 

I think th festival was a big success and next year can only get better.  Next year we will try the boat rides again and maybe I can get a babysitter and attend the classical music event.

Address:                      Santos beach & Mossel Bay harbour
Dates:                          ± 1 – 4 February each year
Website:                      www.diasfees.co.za
Entrance Fee:             Free
(Not a sponsored post)


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