|Tall Ships Come to Bay City|
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The small waterfront town of Bay City, Mich., lies alongside the Saginaw River a few miles from the shallow water of Saginaw Bay. It's a quaint city with historic charm, a downtown area and only about 33,000 residents. But that number will jump to more than 100,000 when this, the only official host port in the state of Michigan, welcomes the Great Lakes United Tall Ships® Challenge fleet and a Tall Ship event like none other from July 15 to 18.
The Tall Ships
In 2010, Bay City will host eleven Tall Ships as part of its fourth Tall Ship Celebration, a maritime festival that has twice received the American Sail Training Association's "Port of the Year" award. Nine ships, including movie stars and a Cold War relic, will be available for boarding and touring. Two additional ships, Bay City's own Appledore IV and Appledore V, will offer sailing excursions throughout the festival.
"We are very pleased to present a diverse fleet of Tall Ships this summer and we're confident there will be something for everyone to enjoy," explained Event Coordinator Shirley Roberts. "The sizes and rigging of the ships are as diverse as their colorful stories. The fleet this year will include the best combination of Tall Ship Celebration favorites and some striking new additions."
Returning to the event are the festival favorites, Maryland's flagship and goodwill ambassador, Pride of Baltimore II; and Michigan's own Madeline from Traverse City. The HMS Bounty, based in Long Island, N.Y., has been completely renovated since her last Bay City appearance in 2003.
Docking in Bay City for the first time in 2010 are the "Freedom Schooner" Amistad from Connecticut; the "Twin Brigantines" Pathfinder & Playfair from Toronto; and Roseway, a National Historic Landmark operating from the U.S. Virgin Islands. The hardworking, sail training vessel Roald Amundsen gets a nod for traveling the farthest, having left her home port of Eckernforde, Germany, on Feb. 20, to make her way to the United States, the Great Lakes and Michigan. Wisconsin's Denis Sullivan, with her strong environmental programming, is the flag ship for the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge, a series of Tall Ships races and rallies that see the fleet in Toronto (June 30 to July 4), Cleveland (July 7 to 11), Bay City (July 15 to 18), Duluth (July 29 to Aug. 1), Green Bay (Aug. 12 to 15) and Chicago (Aug. 24 to 29).
The Maritime Festival
While Tall Ships are at the heart of the event, the Celebration offers much more to entertain and enlighten guests of all ages. Beginning with the grand arrival of the fleet on Thurs., July 15, almost all of the other activities and special events that make up the Tall Ship Celebration are free with paid admission to the festival.
An event within an event, the International Maritime Music Festival is a celebration of the music of the sea and the "chanteys" that helped crews work in unison while toiling aboard square-rigged ships during the Age of Sail. In 2010, the Tall Ship Celebration will welcome musicians from around the world and from Bay City, Mich.'s, backyard, including Armstrong's Patent and Dutch Courage from The Netherlands, Cre Tonnerre from Belgium, Fish and Ships from Norway, Danny & Joyce McLeod from Great Britain, Sasiedzi from Poland, Pint & Dale from Washington state, Lee Murdock from Chicago, Tinker's Folly from Mt. Pleasant, Mich., and Bay City's own Hoolie.
The Ring of Steel Action Theatre will demonstrate the fine art of "Piratin" through stage productions, pirate games, crafts, and basic tomfoolery. The Ring of Steel Action Theatre is the largest theatrical fencing salle, or fencing hall or club in the country; it specializes in the art of stage combat, a multidisciplinary art that combines acting with elements of fencing, martial arts, dance and music.