Ukrainian journalist Maria Romanenko says Liverpool will do her country proud for Eurovision

A Ukrainian woman who fled to Manchester when war broke out says Liverpool will do her country proud by hosting Eurovision.

Maria Romanenko, a journalist from Kyiv, plans to watch three of the shows as part of a number of events in the city surrounding the song contest.

In a first for a Eurovision host city, EuroFestival is transforming Liverpool by uniting music and art in 24 commissions, many of which are collaborative projects between UK and Ukrainian artists.

Ms Romanenko said, "It’s hopefully going to bring some smiles to Ukrainians. Even if they didn’t get tickets they will come to see the events. It’s just really exciting."

Young Eurovision fans enjoying their time in Liverpool. Credit: ITV Granada

The 30-year-old said she had initially hoped Eurovision would be held in Ukraine but was happy for Liverpool to host in on the country’s behalf.

She is writing a number of stories about the event and is running free cultural tours of Liverpool in Ukrainian to make Ukrainians feel welcome.

She said, "It's so great to see all the Ukrainian events being put on.

"The Superlambanana being painted in Ukrainian colours, all the different foods and drinks in the Euro Village and in restaurants across Liverpool.

"It's just all looking amazing."

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EuroFestival got underway on Friday with a huge Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade through the city.

Crowds gathered to watch an underwater sea disco come to life on the city streets as a new magical world called Aquatopia was created.

Hundreds helped bring colourful glitterball puffer fish, a drumming octopus, skating jellyfish and voguing Sea Queens to life.

People stop in the street to watch the colourful parade herald the start of Liverpool’s Eurovision celebrations

The Eurovision Village, a massive fan zone on Liverpool’s iconic waterfront, has now opened to the public.

Over the course of 9 days the outdoor Pier Head venue will feature over 100 acts from pop royalty to future stars, community groups and children’s favourites.

The world’s biggest Eurovision fan club has also opened its EuroClub for the city’s official Eurovision party.

The Pier Head is hosting crowds of Eurovision fans. Credit: ITV Granada

The OGAE (Organisation Générale des Amateurs de l’Eurovision) - which is made up of 42 fan clubs from across the world - expects to attract thousands of fans to Camp and Furnace in the Baltic Triangle over nine nights.

Morten Thomasson, president of the Norwegian Eurovision Fan Club, said, "I'm so happy to see Liverpool has really embraced the whole Eurovision thing.

"It's been quite a few years since a city has embraced it like Liverpool has done - so very good job Liverpool!

"Eurovision has been kind of a joke in the UK for many years. But now it's not a joke any more. It's only happy smiles."