The fairy tale “Alye Parusa” (The Scarlet Sails) is probably the best-known work of Russian romantic writer Alexander Grin. This fairy tale takes place in a fictional land and tells the story of a young girl named Assol. It has been predicted that she would meet a prince, her one true love. According to the prediction, the prince was supposed to arrive on a ship with scarlet sails. By the end of the story, a wealthy captain falls in love with Assol and learns of her story. He docks his ship with scarlet sails and makes Assol’s dreams come true.
The modern festival was first held in 2005 and since then has become a much-anticipated annual celebration. Following a live open-air concert in the heart of the city, a beautiful parade of vessels sails along the banks of the Neva River to the sounds of classical music and fireworks. The boat parade is led by the fairy-tale ship “The Secret,” decked out with scarlet sails much like in Grin’s story.