The Tall Ships are sailing the Great Lakes during the summer of 2013. The historic sailing vessels sailed to Duluth, Minn. for the festival on Lake Superior from July 25-29, 2013. The fleet departed from Duluth on Monday, on their way to other ports. The next big festival for many is at Navy Pier in Chicago from Aug. 7-11, 2013.
We traveled to Duluth to see the great ships, many of which I had seen at Navy Pier Chicago in 2010. Each festival is a unique event because the lineup of ships changes constantly and each city port is different. There were 10 sailing vessels in Duluth this past weekend. There are going to be 15 Tall Ships at Navy Pier in Chicago in August. Tall Ships sailing to Navy Pier Chicago for maritime festival
Tall ships in Duluth included: SS Sørlandet, Peacemaker, Schooner Hindu, Halie & Matthew, U.S. Brig Niagara, Pride of Baltimore II, S/V Denis Sullivan, Privateer Lynx, Zeeto and Coaster II.
The Duluth festival was well attended, as witnessed by the difficulty in securing a hotel room for the night at the last minute. Instead of looking for good value, the challenge was to find a room under $200 when most of the hotels were fully booked. We ended up staying in Superior, Wisc. but made a note that future trips should be planned in advance and that staying right in Duluth would be more convenient for events at the marina. We did enjoy a nice dinner at the very busy Grandma’s Restaurant on the marina.
According to a report in the Duluth News Tribune,Terry Mattson, CEO of Visit Duluth, estimated that somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 admirers came to take in the spectacle of Duluth’s largest tall ship festival to date. Advance tickets had been sold to people in all 50 states and every province in Canada, showing that people were willing to travel great distances to see the maritime spectacle.
The Tall Ships Festival is a family oriented event that can entertain adults and children. There are differing levels of participation available to visitors, including being a spectator only, touring the ships dockside or taking a sailing excursion on the historic replicas. The sailing excursions do sell out, so it is best to purchase tickets in advance.
The Tall Ships are the main attraction, but maritime and pirate themed festivities add to the celebration.
Like many festivals, a lot of walking is required to take advantage of all the sights. The handicapped parking was still too far of a walk for my companion, so she was not able to enjoy the show. Visitors should also be advised that the ship tours require walking on stairs and ladders on a rocking ship, a factor to consider for people with physical limitations.
The Tall Ships Festival is worth attending for people looking for outdoor entertainment with a unique theme that can be fun and educational. The Tall Ships Festival is not an annual event, so it is not known if or when they will return to Duluth or Chicago. Mattson said that the events take a good three years of planning and coordination.
There are just a few more ports of call this season, including Chicago, Green Bay, Lake Erie, Georgian Bay and Ontario. See the Tall Ships website for ports in other cities this year.
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