It seems everywhere I go these days I overhear people chatting in eager anticipation of the Tall Ships arrival to Newport this summer. The buzz generating around this maritime festival is quite contagious, and I too have caught "the bug". I have quickly come to realize if I'm to call myself a Newporter, I must be in the know about such a highly acclaimed event and what it means for the city. So, I did some digging, and here's what I found.
Newport last boasted official host port to the Tall Ships Challenge in 2007. The festival at that time drew an estimated 200,000 people to Rhode Island creating an enormous economic impact on the state. As 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, organizers of this event expect the numbers this year to far surpass those of 2007.
The event Newport hosts this year is part of a challenge that runs the entire Atlantic coast. Participating Tall Ships will begin in Savannah, Georgia from May 3 - 7th. From there, the ships sail a 3 day journey to Charleston, South Carolina and dock from May 10 to the 14th. The next stop is Greenport, New York from May 24 - 28th immediately preceding the ships' stay in Newport. From here, they head to Halifax and other Nova Scotia ports to finish the challenge.
The Tall Ships are here for our viewing pleasure from July 6th to the 9th, and will feature vessels both original and replicated that date back to the early 1800's. The fesitval will also feature exhibits, food, music and entertainment for the entire family. It's no wonder the people of Newport can't stop raving about the Tall Ships Festival! What better way to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of such an historic time in American history. I certainly won't miss the pageantry, and I hope to see you there!
Photo source: Wickepedia Commons/ Origin: Flickr - uploaded 6/14/2007 / Licensed under CCA 2.0 Generic