Savannah has a very strong maritime tradition dating back to the founding of the city in 1733. Savannah is an international harbor and is a gateway to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s no wonder then that Savannah was chosen to be one of the 4 host cities on this year’s Tall Ship Challenge . The events in Savannah kick off a summer of races and festivals along the Atlantic coast for participating tall ships. The Tall Ships Challenge is an annual event hosted by Tall Ships America, which alternates stops every 3 years between the Great Lakes, Atlantic Coast and Pacific Coast. Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building programs aboard tall ships. The students and crew members give talks and lead discussions on life aboard tall ships 200 years ago. This year’s festivities commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The festival will host 14 ships from the United States, France, Cook Island, Indonesia and even a tugboat named Theodore Too from Canada. Most of the boats are replicas and reproductions of boats used during the “seafaring golden age”.
The tall ships will be docking along the Historic Riverfront in downtown Savannah. Visitors to the festival will be able to view and board the ships. Some of the ships are even offering private excursions. Check the schedule for more information. The ships arrive in the Savannah Harbor starting at 7am on Thursday, May 3rd. The time of arrival is dependent on the weather and the tide. The opening ceremonies officially take place Friday, May 4th at 9:45am. Each day, through Sunday, the events go from 10am until 6pm. This is a great family event with many roving entertainers such as pirates, stilt walkers and puppet shows throughout the festival. The tall ships depart Savannah on Monday, May 7th at 11:30 (once again weather permitting).
To coincide with the festival, there will be historical lectures, movies and documentaries about Savannah’s link to the sea as well as Savannah’s importance during the War of 1812. These lectures and films will take place at the Oglethorpe Auditorium at the Savannah International Trade Center. There are also events and shows for children and families at various squares throughout the docking area.
Seeing these majestic ships close up or at sea at full sail is quite the sight to see. Take a step back in time and enjoy these historical ships in a great historical setting, Savannah! What are you waiting for? Get your tickets today! Don’t miss out on a great day of family entertainment with some history thrown in!