Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Next week, boats from all over the world will sail into Baltimore’s harbor for the Star-Spangled Sailabration. It’s part of the city’s celebrations of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
Monique Griego has more on the festivities.
Excitement ignited at the Inner Harbor Tuesday for Baltimore’s upcoming bicentennial of the War of 1812.
“This is going to be the biggest thing we’ve ever seen here in the last 30 years,” said Vince Vaise, Fort McHenry Visitor Center. “Tall ships, it will be like another invasion in Baltimore — but a friendly one– that kicks off the bicentennial of the War of 1812.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Governor Martin O’Malley drummed up anticipation for one of the celebration’s biggest events: the Star-Spangled Sailabration.
“We commemorate this history with a great celebration. This entire harbor will be filled with tall ships, naval vessels, the Blue Angels will be screeching overhead,” said O’Malley.
Sailabration will bring a parade of more than 40 tall ships and naval warships to the harbor for public tours. A similar event in 2004 brought in hundreds of thousands of people, but the bicentennial means everything’s bigger and better.
Many believe the bicentennial will bring tourists and positive attention to Baltimore’s ever-growing Inner Harbor.
“I’m more than excited to have all of this activity come into the area, bring tourism so I can show off where I live, which is Fells Point,” said Merritt Dwarkin.
As part of Sailabration, there will be a military airshow, food and lots of events for the kids.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for families to come down and see the ships,” said Michael McGeadi, Sail Baltimore.
The Sailabration is only part of the bicentennial tourism push expected over the next few years.
“We’re looking forward to the buzz, the positive buzz this is bringing to the city,” said John Lanahan, Radisson Plaza.
And many are hoping and expecting that visitors who come next week will remember what the home of the Star- Spangled Banner has to offer.
“When you have a celebration, people come and they’re saying ‘Wow, there’s the Inner Harbor and it’s rejuvenated. Wow, there’s the Science Center. Wow, there’s Fort McHenry. Wow, there’s the Maryland Historical Society.’ People are going to remember Baltimore and come back,” Vaise said.
Sailabration runs June 13-19 and all events are free.