The wait is finally over!
The Ocean State Tall Ships® Festival 2012 comes to Newport Harbor this July 6 to 9.
With 14 majestic Tall Ships slated to attend, this year's festival is a special way to celebrate the remainder of the Fourth of July week.
Different events will be held throughout Newport Habor. For a map of events and where to view the ships, click here or see the pdf at right.
The scenic and historic waterfront of Newport is the idyllic setting to observe the splendor of the tall ships, and families will delight in the majesty of the Parade of Sail through Newport Harbor. This event will also feature exhibits, food, music and family entertainment.
Children especially enjoy boarding these remarkable vessels, and the opportunity to meet international crew members provides all visitors with insight into the many unique cultures that have helped to shape the past and future of sailing.
Where, how to buy tickets
If you're like me, you tend to spend a bit too much during the summer months on entertainment. Tall Ships organizers are encouraging those planning to attend to purchase tickets in advance and online — especially to save money!
To save money and avoid ticket purchase lines, visitors can purchase their boarding passes in advance at OceanStateTallShips.com.
Adult day passes can be purchased at a discounted price, online only, throughout the festival, for $12.50. Child passes are just $7.50 online.
If you purchase at the festival, the cost is $15 for adults and $8 per child.
This pass provides access to all 14 vessels. Additionally, guests can enjoy the picturesque setting of Newport Harbor, as they stroll through the vendor marketplaces and listen to some of the many talented musicians that are scheduled to perform at the festival.
Where to park
In an effort to avoid the traffic jams in downtown Newport, visitors to Ocean State Tall Ships® Festival 2012 are also advised to park in satellite parking lots located throughout Newport and Middletown.
The following lots are being offered for satellite parking: Navy Gate 4 and Navy lots on Coddington Highway in Newport; Department of Transportation land under the Pell Bridge in Newport; Navy Lodge on West Main Road; Aquidneck Corporate Park, 55 John Clarke Road, Middletown; Gaudet Middle School, 1113 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown; Middletown High School, 130 Valley Road, Middletown; and handicapped parking will be available at Newport Grand, 150 Kalbfus Road, Newport.
Parking passes are available for advance purchase online for a cost of $10 per car. Only cash will be accepted on the day of the festival, and please note that the shuttle buses take between 10 to 25 minutes between drop-offs.
Once you have safely parked at one of the designated lots, a free shuttle bus will deliver visitors to the Visitor's Center or the turnaround at the Red Parrot Restaurant on Lower Thames Street.
Due to the festival, there will be only one way lane of travel on Washington Street from the corner of Long Wharf to the Causeway north bound only. The south bound lane of travel will be closed to traffic due to vendors for the event.
There will be no parking on both sides of the roadway on Washington Street to the Causeway. Long Wharf lanes of travel in both directions will not be affected.
The restrictions for Washington Street will be in effect from Friday, July 6, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Washington Street prohibited parking is in effect from Friday, July 6, at 6 a.m. and concludes at midnight on Sunday, July 8.
What to watch
The entertainment schedule for the Ocean State Tall Ships®Festival 2012 is jam packed with an eclectic group of top-notch musicians, interactive demonstrations, and plenty of fun for the entire family: performers in pirate regalia, face painting, roaming magicians, battling DJ's, Lazicki's Rescue Parrot Demonstration, and the important Honor to the Ensignceremony.
Musical entertainment will take place throughout the festival, including: Strictly Sinatra, Matt Farr Band, Take3, AJ Edwards, Good Will & Them Apples, The Transatlantic Campaign, The Aquatudes Band, Anita Sanchez, Abbey Rhode, Mudhook, Carol Newman Cronin, Mystic Jammers, Slippery Sneakers, The Pulse of Boston, Barrington Jazz Band, White Eyed Lizard Band, Tom Kastle, Big in Europe, Good Ol' Boys, and Dancing Nancy.
OSTS organizers are also pleased to offer a concert, free to the public, by Navy Band Northeast, "Rhode Island Sound," in Washington Square, Sunday, July 8 at 6 p.m.
Additionally, the Jane Pickens Theater will be offering viewings of the film Amistad at a discounted price for those who purchased a boarding pass to the festival at 10 a.m. on both Saturday, July 7, and Sunday, July 8.
For a full schedule of events, click here.
Where to shop
Another exciting component of the festival is the Vendor Trade Marketplaces, located at Bowen's Wharf, Waite's Wharf and along Washington Street and State Pier. These marketplaces feature small businesses and artisans, providing a wide variety of food, as well as local products and services. Of the 55 confirmed vendors, 30 are local Rhode Island businesses.
"We are so pleased with the overwhelming local support we have received during the planning stages of this event," said Erin Donovan, executive director of Ocean State Tall Ships®.
"From the onset, we wanted this event to be about supporting both the Newport and Rhode Island economy, and that begins with partnering with local small businesses, restaurants, entertainers and artists. This event will truly be a fun, inexpensive way to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend and we hope to make OSTS Festival 2012 an event each and every Rhode Islander can be proud of."
Parade of Sail
The Ocean State Tall Ships® Festival will conclude on July 9 from noon to 4 p.m. with the Parade of Sail.
For the first time, people have the opportunity to sail onboard one of these historically accurate vessels during the four-hour Parade of Sail.
Limited tickets are available to sail on the Mystic Whaler, the 19th century reproduction of a New England Schooner, or on the Privateer, Newport's own 52-foot sailing catamaran.
Visitors also can enjoy a catered brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. while watching from the best vantage point at Fort Adams.
Admiral level sponsors of this event are WPRI 12, Cumulus Media, Cardi's Furniture, Rite Solutions, Heineken, Bowen's Wharf and Waite's Wharf. A complete list of all our sponsors is available at OceanStateTallShips.com/sponsorships/sponsors.
For more information about this festival, visit the Ocean State Tall Ships® Festival 2012 Web site here.