Baltimore hosted the national launch of the Bicentennial Celebration of the War of 1812, which boasted an international parade of more than 40 tall ships and naval vessels. During June 13-19, the Star-Spangled Sailabration included tall ship tours, an air show by the Blue Angels (first Baltimore appearance ever!), and a world premiere symphony performance written by world-renowned composer Philip Glass. For more information about the events that took place, check out the Sailabration schedule of events.
Last Thursday, I headed down to Inner Harbor, enjoying dinner and a tour of the Cuauhtémoc, a 270-foot tall ship from Mexico. It was enormous. The sailors welcomed visitors aboard, posed for pictures, and chatted with curious passersby. The visiting sailors made their presence known around the city- several have been volunteering at Meals on Wheels and many more helped plant a community garden at the Howard Peter Rawlings Conservatory and Botanical Garden at Druid Hill Park. Uniforms of all types were also spotted at Camden Yards.
The weather was wonderful and the mood was friendly, if not enchanting. As the sun went down, strings of white lights run along the ropes flickered on, enhancing the already festive atmosphere. People were happy, at ease, and enjoying themselves. My experience was quite the opposite of what Maryland Representative Pat McDonough described as he warned of dangerous “youth mobs” when he advised tourists and other Maryland residents to stay out of Baltimore City. Just FYI, Mr. McDonough, I had a great time at the Inner Harbor last week.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors were expected to attend the Sailabration events; Baltimore officials are now working to figure out if attendance surpassed one million. Tom Noonan of Visit Baltimore suggested that this event may have even brought Baltimore more money than the Grand Prix.
Sailabration was “probably one of the largest events in the city’s recent history,” said Baltimore City Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. The success of over the weekend “underscores how Baltimore is prepared to handle these large-scale events,” he continued, highlighting that the four days of Sailabration were “extremely well-managed”.
Check out Baltimore Business Journal’s video of the departure of the tall ships: