Nearly a dozen tall ships will sail into town for the extended Memorial Day weekend for the five-day Sail Philadelphia celebration at Penn’s Landing on May 24-28.
“Many of them are at least 160 feet long, and it’s incredibly majestic to see them all together,” said Joe Forkin, president of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, at an event Tuesday announcing festival details.
The ships will sail up the Delaware for the popular “Parade of Sail” 3-5 p.m. May 24, arriving from ports in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Bermuda, and Portugal. Philadelphia’s own three-mast Gazela will join 10 visiting ships on the Sail Philadelphia roster.
General admission to the festival costs $7 a day ($5 for kids 3 and older), including live entertainment along the waterfront by jugglers, stilt-walkers, magicians, and live bands, along with admission to the Independence Seaport Museum. Ships will be open for self-guided tours May 25-28 (tickets $7-$65).
General and timed tickets can be booked now at sailphiladelphia.org. Advance tickets are also available for 90-minute daytime cruises and 2-hour twilight sails ($90-$125, $150 for the Parade of Sail).
On Saturday, May 26, a U.S. Air Force Band will perform at 7:30 p.m. with fireworks over the Delaware afterward, at 8:45 p.m. Both events are free and do not require tickets.
Three beer gardens will operate during the festival. Pay-as-you-go food options will include ice cream, funnel cake, and cotton candy, along with snow crab legs and peel-and-eat shrimp from Chickie’s & Pete’s.
The Independence Seaport Museum will host daily screenings of Finding Nemo (1 p.m.) and Pirates of the Caribbean (4 p.m.).
“We’d like to see more people actually out on the river,” said John Brady, president and CEO of the Independence Seaport Museum. “This will certainly bring inspiration to do that.”