My husband and I, along with thousands of other tourists, had a great time during the Atlantic Ocean’s largest nautical celebration at Norfolk’s 36th waterfront festival. Strolling along the three miles of Virginia’s crowded waterfront activities from June 5-9, it was difficult at times to capture the scenes through our camera lenses.
The highlight for me took place while seated on the dock next to a woman and her teenage daughter, waiting for the Tall Ships Parade of Sails (masts) to begin. We flung our legs over the edge for over three hours and agreed we had the best photographic spots along the water’s edge.
Wonderful conversation. Beautiful scenery. OpSail 2012 Tall Ships excitement.
From the Harbors of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton and Yorktown, to Chesapeake’s Intracoastal Waterway, to the sky above the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, to the shore of Tangier Island and the Eastern Shore of Virginia, international Tall Ships, military vessels, and air craft converged on the Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay regions. More than 4,000 international officers, cadets, crew, and dignitaries from more than 15 nations were guests for 12 exciting days.
Parades of Sails. Ship Tours. Air Shows. Festivals. Fireworks. Food, fun and 1812 historic celebrations abounded! Events were free and open to the public.
The History of Norfolk Harborfest
It began more than a quarter century ago when the Norwegian Tall Ship Christian Radich came to call on Norfolk, a waterfront community that had no city-owned property on which to dock a ship. The ship was docked three blocks from Town Point Park at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and 13,000 people crossed her gangway in just one and a half days. Over the next two years, city planners and leaders created berthing to accommodate more ships, and a waterfront public park was planned. Norfolk Harborfest was born.
Today tall ships from all over the world frequently call on the city of Norfolk and nearly half a million visitors gather on downtown waterfront each year for this annual celebration of the region’s rich nautical heritage. The traditions of the East Coast’s premier Waterfront Festival are celebrated with nautical history, maritime events, visiting vessels, children’s activities, local, regional and national entertainment. Festivities stretch from The Waterside Festival Marketplace to the Historic Freemason Harbor.
Our hours flitted away with photographing and participating in this historical world-class international party. It is my dream we will be able to experience this phenomenal event in a different eastern coastal port next time…or even on a water vessel. What a blessing to have our hotel room within walking distance of almost all the featured attractions. Possessing the ability to rest in a cool room during the heat of the day certainly also provided for a most enjoyable time in downtown Norfolk, Virginia.
Visit my website for more OpSail 2012 Tall Ships Festival images: www.corinthrose.com
Tall Ships insights and photos can also be found on my 2011 blog post, Tall Ships and Sitting at the Water’s Edge.July 14: Strollin’ on the WILDside July 21: Around the bend at Big Bend July 28: Bienvenidos, Terlingua USA