Four days of festival fun with upwards of 100,000 visitors on the scene? Oh, yes. Billowing beauties sailing into port from around the world, welcoming you aboard to talk tales and triumphs with the spirited crews? Yes, and yes. Maritime musicians from across the globe bringing musical performances to two parks packed with activities and pirates galore? Aye Matey, and so much more!
Beginning to see why we're already oh-so-excited about 2019 Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City? We thought so! Batten down the hatches now for July 18 - 21, 2019 when this epic event will sail into Bay City and transform the town. Read on to dive into the maritime magic early and learn the ropes that'll help you navigate your way through this international, seafaring festival!
Steady as She Goes
When: July 18 - 21, 2019
Where: Ships will dock along both sides of the Saginaw River between Veteran's Memorial Bridge and Liberty Bridge; music and activities will take place in both Veteran's Memorial Park and Wenonah Park. Look for the free shuttles to easily "float" between parks and performances!
Who: Set your sights on the Tall Ship Celebration website and Facebook page for updates on visiting musical performers and ships (along with BaySail Bay City's own Appledore V and Appledore IV), plus tickets, pricing, and the one-time-per-event Souvenir Passport needed to tour and board the ships.
Anchor Your Place to Stay
Whether you've never been, or you attend the Tall Ships festival every year that it takes place (and know well the honor of Bay City being named Port of the Year by TALL SHIPS AMERICA more than any other community in all of North America), take note of 100,000-plus visitors and the sheer magnitude of the Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City! You'll want to secure early the spot you'll rest your head each night.
Close: Options nearest the event include the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bay City - Riverfront and Comfort Inn Bay City - Riverfront, though there are many Bay City hotels to choose from close to the festivities.
Nearby: Nearly all hotels in the Great Lakes Bay are within a 30-minute drive from the festival, many visitors select nearby campgrounds in the Great Lakes Bay, and you might even consider including the charm of our Great Lakes Bay B&Bs into your voyage.
Ahoy! See Four Days Ahead
Heads up to any sailors still earning their Tall Ships sea legs: this festival is four days of maritime magic and not a moment is to be missed!
Set Your Sights on Thursday: From noon to 5 p.m. on July 18, 2019, the ships will sail into port and visitors can support the organized chaos of each arrival, hands-on! No boarding takes place yet, but the arrival of the ships is a high-energy experience worth being part of!
Get Ready for the Weekend: The festival will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, July 19 through Sunday, July 21. (Read on to learn about Ballads & Brews, the festival within the festival that begins at 5 p.m.!) Ships will be available for boarding and touring, the parks will be filled with family-friendly activities and events, and the community will be alive with maritime merriment, so start planning your visit now!.
Maritime Means Movement
If you're not familiar with the fun-loving genre of folk that is maritime music, get ready to stomp, clap, and kick up your "soles" in celebration of the souls of sea!
Global Get-downs: Musical sets are 45 minutes, with 15-minute intervals, and each band will perform at both Veteran's Memorial Park and Wenonah Park. (Preliminary invitations have been extended to performers from Poland, France, Finland, England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and a few from the U.S. Stay tuned!)
The Festival Within the Festival: Ballads & Brews
Just as ship-boarding ends each evening, Ballads & Brews begins at the Quarter Deck (Veteran's Memorial Park) from 5 p.m. - midnight, Friday and Saturday nights! Expect hot maritime music and cool craft brews from Pure Michigan breweries to cap off each night.
Psst! Special Sunday Show: Plan to be at the Quarter Deck from 5 - 7: 30 p.m. on Sunday to experience an all-hands-on-deck gathering of musicians and free-flowing jam sessions! Cultural boundaries melt away, global musicians unite, and you won't want to miss this!
Earn Seadog Status
Truth is, you won't want to miss any of what Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City offers, and the year before it comes will sail by! Be ready like a Seadog (seasoned sailor) and secure your stay now, but study up on must-know Tall Ships Challenge info before you go. See you in 2019, Mateys!