Spend Labor Day weekend having a nautical adventure at the Festival of Sail. Hosted by the Maritime Museum of San Diego, the four-day event is the largest Tall Ship festival on the west coast. This is the 9th year for the event, and each year there is something different to see. The ships come from all over the world, this year most of them come from the Southern California and Mexico area.
The ships begin arriving from late on Wednesday through Thursday and on Thursday the official parade kicks off. The ships sail into the San Diego bay to cannon fire salutes and dock at the Maritime Museum. Tickets to be aboard one of the ships during the parade are limited and must be purchased online. The ships all meet at a buoy and then sail to the Coronado Bridge and then head to the Maritime Museum where they dock for the weekend. People can watch the parade from the San Diego bay, Shelter and Coronal Island and Seaport Village.
Visitors to the Festival of Sail are given a passport when they purchase their ticket, which means that as they explore the different vessels they get a unique stamp from each ship. The Maritime Museum has added extra temporary floating docks as to host all of the visiting ships. Along with touring the vessels visitors can enjoy a beer garden, hundreds of local arts, crafts and food vendors as well as kids activities and a kids petting zoo.
There will be special events hosting through out the weekend including a cannon battle where two or three of the ships face off in a “strategic dance”. Visitors can purchase tickets online to be aboard the cannon battles that take place Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. They can cheer on their ship captain and enjoy the sights and sounds (but no live rounds) of a cannon battle. Other special events to take part in include cruises around the bay at the perfect time to watch the gorgeous San Diego sunset.
Tickets to the Festival of Sail are $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and active military with ID. Children under 3 are free. The tickets include the Festival of Sail passport, which features information of each vessel and can be stamped at each ship. The festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday Sept. 1. Admission is good for one day of the festival. To purchase general admission tickets or event tickets, visit the Maritime Museums ticket site online.