Oh, the merriment! It's no wonder you've set your sails toward this international, seafaring festival! With four days of foot-stomping, pirate-clad fun now on your horizon (where upwards of 100,000 lassies and lads will be in attendance), can you already picture the awe-inspiring tall ships sailing into port? Make sure to see yourself boarding the billowing beauties, too, and talking tales with the spirited crews from Canada to Nova Scotia and beyond!
Are your feet already tapping for the maritime musicians from across the globe and the chanties they'll be belting out both day and night? Aye, Matey! But when to "drop anchor", where best to "bunk", and what to "be on the lookout" for? Read on and we'll show you the ropes. These insider tips will help you navigate smooth sailing through the epic festival that is 2019 Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City!
Begin Your Voyage With This Birds-eye View
Whether you're a first-timer or veteran Tall Ship Celebration-goer, these insider tips will help you make the most of your voyage through the 2019 Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, Michigan!
When: July 18 - 21, 2019. The festival begins at noon on Thursday, and ships will sail in between 2 - 4 p.m. (Tip: Don't miss this! It's high-energy and a memorable must-experience as the crews and ships come in!) Check here for a complete schedule of daily opening/closing times and festival info.
Where: Downtown Bay City; 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 Vets Park (also known as "The Quarterdeck") and Wenonah Park. Look for the free shuttles to easily "float" between parks and performances!
Who: Meet the fleet of 2019 Tall Ships, including BaySail Bay City's very own Appledore V and Appledore IV, and discover songs of the sea performed by international maritime musicians, including Bocca Musica, Roane, and Za Horyzontem visiting all the way from Poland!
How: Tickets are on sale now! Purchase here before July 1 to lock in pre-sale prices for daily tickets & Souvenir Passports! (Tip: Don't pass on a Souvenir Passport! You'll need it to tour and board the ships, and it's packed with ways to heighten your festival experience.)
Be on the Lookout
Make way for these special activities, both at the festival and throughout the community, to enjoy while you're in town:
When daytime festivities end at 5 p.m., find your way to The Quarterdeck for Ballads & Brews. Admission is $5, waived with a Souvenir Passport, and Michigan beers, lively shanty music, and footstompin' fun will flow! (Tip: Don't miss the All Hands Sing Around on Sunday, 5 - 7:30 p.m., where the global musicians unite for a magical jam session!)
Map out your spot on unforgettable, three-hour Sail-Away Adventures aboard BaySail Bay City's majestic Appledore IV and Appledore V Tall Ships, or book one of several boarding opportunities on Bay City Boat Lines' Princess Wenonah/Islander Cruises — from a "Greet The Tall Ships" tour with lunch on-deck to "View The Tall Ships" narrated tours, known to sell out fast!
Add a Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse tour (rarely open to the public) to your itinerary, and consider a USS Edson tour if you dare! The USS Edson, a Forrest Sherman class destroyer, was featured on the "Ghost Asylum" television show.
Come around to The Quarterdeck to start your day at Pancakes with Pirates, then shop for one-of-a-kinds at Art in the Park and learn to talk and fight like a pirate with Ring of Steel Action Theatre, all inside Vets Park.
Experience Bay City's 3rd Street Star Bridge and join traveling crewmembers, volunteers, and visitors alike underneath this luminescent landmark on the first Thursday of the festival for an informal welcome party! (Keep watch at the Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City Facebook page for more details.)
A Word to the Wayfaring Wise
Ahoy! Make sure to anchor your place to stay, Captain!
Keep in mind that the waterfront community of Bay City is the only official host port in Michigan for the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes Fleet, and that Bay City has been named "Port of the Year" by TALL SHIPS AMERICA® more times than any other community in North America. With upwards of 100,000 travelers "sailing" in, point your scope toward these places to stay and be sure to book in advance, Buccaneers!
Each time this colorful festival comes to town turns into its own unique experience, but there's always something to be treasured by everyone. Welcome aboard! Enjoy your days (and nights) at the 2019 Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City, Michigan!