This year’s illumination: Harbour Festival of Light in Irvine will feature jaw-dropping acrobatics, amazing interactive sculptures and a twinkling parade led by a giant Loch Ness monster.

The Maritime Museum organised event returns for its second years from Thursday, November 30 to Sunday December 3.

This year’s theme is Scottish folklore and mythology so visitors should expect lots of unicorns, Willow the Wisp faeries, dragon wings and, with a nod to the visiting Kelpie Maquettes, which will be part of the illumination Light Trail, lots of kelpie lanterns.

Amazing action is promised as Spinal Chord aerial acrobats fly across the Scottish Maritime Museum’s vast Linthouse on rattling chains, slack ropes, cloud swings and a running wall in this year’s brand new Light, Fire & Aerial Art Spectacular.

In the Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology, the Scottish Maritime Museum is swapping the graceful aerial silks of last year’s show for rope and chain as illumination : Harbour Festival of Light cranks up a gear to celebrate Scotland’s shipbuilding and industrial heritage through aerial performance, live music and a fabulous light show.

David Mann, Director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: “We’re thrilled to announce that we’re going all Steampunk and industrial for this year’s brand new illumination Light, Fire and Aerial Art Spectacular in the Linthouse and it’s going to an amazing experience for all.

“It’s been an exciting week behind the scenes at the Linthouse as Spinal Chord Founder, Colombian choreographer, dancer and aerial acrobat Rodolfo, began rigging the running wall, which is set to be one of the highlights of the show.

“You’re going to have to see it to believe it and I urge everyone to buy their tickets soon and be sure of catching this unmissable event!”

As well as the aerial acrobatics, live music and light show inside the colossal former shipyard building, visitors to the illumination Light, Fire & Aerial Art Spectacular will enjoy fire performances, stiltwalkers and jugglers outside in the Courtyard.

The light show inside the Linthouse will also continue outside with light installations across the Courtyard and the story of shipbuilding projected onto the Linthouse façade.

‘Sailing boats, steamboats and beyond – the story of shipbuilding’ will feature unseen photographs from the Museum’s archives. One of the highlights of the illumination Light Trail will be the world’s first Illumaphonium, a fabulous shimmering, music making interactive sculpture for all to enjoy.

Visitors to the free illumination Light Trail, which will twinkle from 4pm to 10pm throughout the festival, will have fun making music on the Illumaphonium, which is a first of its kind.

Fiona Greer, Curator of Art at the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: “As visitors run their hands over the three metre high music-making sculpture, over 100 shimmering illuminated chime bars will sing in response.

Ever changing patterns of light and sound will spread out like waves over the giant instrument’s surface. We’re expecting the Illumaphonium to be one of the big hits of this year’s Light Trail.”

The magical musical sculpture, created by musician and inventor Michael Davis, will be located opposite Harbour Arts Centre. Irvine’s magical Lantern Parade, one of the highlights of illumination : Harbour Festival of Light, returns at 6pm on Saturday, December 2 and, this year, the twinkling procession snaking along the Harbourside will be led by a giant Loch Ness monster.

Over 5,000 visitors came out to watch last year’s illumination Lantern Parade. Once again festival organiser the Scottish Maritime Museum is working with Ayrshire Youth Arts Network to create a memorable parade with even more colour, sparkle and community participation.

The four day winter adventure will also include illumiBike Clan Stunt shows on Friday 1 December, skiff racing; a fabulous community Lantern Parade on Saturday 2nd December; Murray McDavid whisky tastings and entertainment aboard the Murray McDavid cutter boat with ‘Whisky Bard’ Robin Laing; food and craft fair, funfair and more.

Illumination Harbour Festival of Light has is part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals events programme and is supported by North Ayrshire Council, BAE Systems, Caledonian MacBrayne, Booth Welsh and in-kind sponsorship from NPL Estates and Confida.