Vejle is a town situated in the south east of Jutland and was host to the "Vejle Dampfest".
This was a bi-annual event that took place usually on the second weekend of July in 2002,2004,2006,2008, and was a big attraction in Denmark and also saw a good number of visitors from other parts of Europe. The festival is held on alternate years in Flensborg, Germany.
There was a lot to see for children and adults. There were steam rollers, traction engines, steam lorries, steam cars, steam ships and steam models from many countries in Europe, a miniature railway and a steam train which ran regularly from the harbour. There are also open air concerts performed by various artists. It became a party for the town of Vejle and its visitors.
Unfortunately the authorities, EU laws and rules and regulations made holding the festival difficult. In 2008 problems were encountered with Danish Maritime authority, and as a result only one steam ship was able to run trips during the festival, so all the visiting steamships did not attend the festival. The one steamship in attendance was the Danish steamship "Skjelsk°r". The 2008 festival was a bit disappointing, also for the participants. Many of the people who had exhibited at earlier steam festivals in Vejle were not invited in 2008, resulting in a distinct lack of steam driven attractions.
In 2010 difficulty was again experienced with the Danish Maritime authorities and their rules and regulations, resulting in a lack of steamships being able to attend from outside of Denmark, so the organisers and Vejle Town Council made the decision to drop the steam festival. Whether this is a permanent decision or not, will only be seen in the future.
As far as we know, the steam festival still continues in Flensborg, Germany.
In July 2002 the steam festival made the Danish national news on the 22 of June 2002 when one of the festivals visiting steamships, a visiting privately owned steamship "SS.Dunkan" became stranded near Kongstrup, Kalundborg Fjord, SjŠland on its way back to the Baltic after attending the festival. On the a tug took "DUNKAN" from ground. After 45 min of trying to tow the ship free, it capsized and sank very quickly. This was a great loss to its owner Valentin Syromiatnikov who had bought the ship as a wreck in 1992 and had spent 6 years restoring the ship, which also became his home. Many people felt sorry for him and a society was formed in Denmark to try to retrieve the ship and restore it to its former glory.
Eventually on the 9th of April 2003, the floating crane "Samson" lifted the ship from the seabed and it was brought ashore. It was not a pretty sight ! I am not sure what happened after that, as details of what happened to the ship after it was brought to land are not available. My guess is that the society's plans fell through, and it was scrapped.
SS. Dunkan at the Vejle Steam Festival 2002
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