Ships from across the globe are making their way to Charleston as the Holy City prepares for the Charleston Harbor Fest beginning this Friday. Those ships will decorate the harbor with their majestic sails through Monday. Events are planned for the entire weekend including bands, ship tours, pirate parades for the kids, an air show, and a NASA Exploration Experience simulating a trek to the moon. Deputy Director of the South Carolina Maritime Foundation, Meaghan Van Liew, says that even with all of the activities, the focus is on the ships.
“Yes, we’re really excited,” she said. “Charleston Harbor Fest is going to be grander than ever.
“We have 18 tall ships from around the world coming in and some of the most special, some of the largest ships in the world actually. Ships from countries like Russia, Romania, Uruguay, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and else where so we are very excited.”
This is a family oriented event with lots of other attractions planned. According to Van Liew, “We have, not just the tall ships, (but) we have an air show, we have aerobatic planes that are going to be flying high over the harbor on Saturday and Sunday in the morning and afternoon. We have special ops parachute team that comes down right into the middle of…near the festival grounds in Ansonborough Field and lots of neat things for the kids, a big education exhibit with lots of interactive activities for them.”
She says tickets are available and explains why you may consider purchasing one. “They are for all three days. So what that ticket gets you is access to the festival grounds and actually gets you on the dock and to tour the ships that are open.
“The ships are open for various times for deck tours. They are not all open at the same time. We’ve tried to be real clear on that and posted signs at the head of the dock and next to the ships. But that’s really exciting when you can get on board one of the ships and and do a tour and meet some of the captain and crew.”
On Friday night, says Van Liew, there will be a party on one of these large
vessels. “There are some wonderful evening events if people want to participate, only advanced purchases on those (tickets). Friday night is a big soiree which is basically the huge Class A ships. That’s the Eagle–the U.S. Coastguard Eagle and the Kruzenshtern (from Russia) and some of the biggest ships are open for tours at night. Instead of 10,000 people there visiting during the day, there will be only about a 1,000 people at night.
“It’s open bar and it’s full of international cuisine and live music.”
The event culminates with the parade of ships on Monday beginning at the Ravenel Bridge and continuing to Sullivan’s Island.