Last weekend I went to the Old City Seaport Festival hosted by the Independence Seaport Museum at at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. Ships in attendence were Gazela and Jupiter of Pennsylvania, Mystic Whaler of Connecticut, A. J. Meerwald of New Jersey, and the Pride of Baltimore II from Maryland.
Saturday was cold, wet and rainy but didn't stop some people from wanting to tour the ships. It really is a fantastic sight to see tall ships together. It makes you think about the times when tall ships were the form of shipping and travel and harbors looked like forests.
If you have never seen a tall ship in person, it is well worth it. We see them in movies but can't quite imagine the size or the smells or the motion of a ship. It's a direct link to the past. All of the dangers of a ship are still real and all of the work to keep a ship floating still need to be done. Historical ships are not a hobby that can be put away once summer is over much like many historical sites that can close their doors until the weather breaks. They are special sites that are almost living.
The Old City Seaport Festival is special because it is an event for kids. It is pirate themed so you can expect lots of cheery pirates. There are games for kids to play, scavenger hunts, crafts and comedy acts. Many sailing events are not designed for child audiences as many maritime events are focused on and run by, well, sailors. :)
|Father teaching his son to climb in the rigging.|
The festival is a lot of fun and it is an opportunity to see a lot of ships in one place. Wooden ships don't last forever and are constantly under threat so it is great to see them while you can. As many know the Bounty sank in 2012 and Argus (click to see horrible photo of poor Argus) sank back in January, while waiting for the same work that Gazela has been waiting for for years but costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Maritime Heritage funding has been cut recently and the National Maritime Alliance is fighting to get the funding back to its original levels. I'm not asking everyone to write their committee members but if you know someone who really likes boats, please send them this link.