Rest assured, earthlings! Not all attractions in Tall Ships Erie 2022 will float on water.
The festival grounds, which will be open Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will provide plenty of entertainment and educational opportunities for those away from the docks.
“It’s kind of like ‘Choose Your Own Adventure,'” said William Sabatini, executive director and fleet captain of the Flagship Niagara League. “We have so many different options, so it really depends on what you want to do first.”
For that, here are some ideas:
Practice ax throwing at the Maritime Market
Boasting approximately 40 distinct vendors, the Maritime Marketplace, located inside the Bayfront Convention Center, will offer a range of games, treats, memorabilia and exhibits.
As Sabatini said, “everything you can think of is finished at the Sea Market”.
For those looking to summon their inner pirate, consider Ax throw 40 hitsa mobile ax throwing place, where you can try your luck with an ax and a bullseye.
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For more relaxing options, consider indulging in hand-dipped chocolate-covered snacks at Julie’s Sweetsof the North-East, or taste the flavors of Mead, wine and cider KingViewof Washington, Pennsylvania.
Listen to live music from local artists
The festival will feature a lineup of around 20 artists performing a variety of live music, from acoustic to pop, jazz to folk, and classics to sea shanties.
Sabatini said the festival is looking for local artists.
“What we wanted to do was highlight local artists because for almost two years a lot of those people couldn’t perform,” Sabatini said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “So we found as many local acts as possible so that we could fill all of our scenes with locals.”
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Among others, local artists include Mark Pacileo, a longtime Erie teacher turned full-time musician, who will play a variety of music from the 1970s and beyond, and Erie’s own Claire Stuczinskiwhich will play a number of classic hits, according to Tall Ships Erie.
Artists will perform at the Bayfront Convention Center, Bayfront Maritime Center and Dobbins Landing.
Discover an exhibition of shipwrecks
The Pennsylvania Archeology and Shipwreck Survey Team will host an exhibit on ships lost in Lake Erie, at a time when the lake was one of the busiest waterways in the world. The organization’s divers and researchers will discuss various lost schooners, including the Albion, Indiana, Charles Foster, and Susquehanna, as well as lost steamships like the Dean Richmond and the SK Martin.
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Guest speakers include Kevin Magee, co-founder of Cleveland Underwater Explorers; and David Frew, historian, scholar-in-residence of the Jefferson Educational Society and professor emeritus at Gannon University.
Talks and films will take place every hour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bayfront Convention Center.
Learn about the Battle of Lake Erie
Those interested in learning more about Erie’s waterfront history can choose from a number of presentations at the Hirt Auditorium, located adjacent to the lobby of the Erie Maritime Museum.
Each day will feature two presentations.
- At 1 p.m., retired U.S. Navy Reserve Commandant Timothy Dring will speak about the history of lifeboats used by the U.S. Life-Saving Service and U.S. Coast Guard at Près Isle.
- At 2:30 p.m., local author Eugene Ware will discuss the history of Près Isle.
- At 1:00 p.m. Bill Nesgoda, an activist for the preservation of the North Pier Light from Près Isle, will talk about its most fascinating caretaker, Frank Henry.
- At 2:30 p.m., local author Eugene Ware will discuss lighthouse folklore.
- At 1 p.m., author and University of Edinboro graduate John Corrigan will discuss his historical detective novel “The Witch’s Fleet,” which weaves a story around the events of 1812-1813, the historical squadron of Oliver Hazard Perry was built in Erie.
- At 2:30 p.m., National Park Service rangers Stephanie DeMatteo and Caleb Parsons discuss the Battle of Lake Erie.
A short film on the theme of each day will be screened each day at 4 p.m.
Take the kids to the Kids Zone
Families can stop by the Kids Zone, located on Holland Street behind the Blasco Library.
- A coloring station, where children can use crayons and markers on nautical coloring pages
- A two-lane inflatable obstacle course, full of climbing and sliding
- A craft station for making sailboats, where children can build mini cork sailboats and try them out
- A bubble machine station
- A sailor tattoo station, where children can get tattoos with washable paint of traditional sailor tattoos
- A fish stamping activity, where kids can create realistic fish illustrations using fish stamps
Don’t forget the library
Want a little more information on tall ships?
The Blasco Library, which is connected to the Erie Maritime Museum, has set up maritime-themed book exhibits in light of the festival, Erie County Public Library Director Karen Pierce said.
Visitors can also admire a large wooden model of the US Brig Niagara outside the Library’s Heritage Room on the second floor. The model is accompanied by a showcase with information and photos of the tall ships of the festival.
Pierce said there was also a showcase of novels by Patrick O’Brien, the English author best known for his maritime novels.