Great Lakes cruises are always a lot of fun on schooners. This weekend, September 11 through the 13th, marks the start of the Michigan Schooner Festival and a chance for everyone to experience the thrill of sailing on a tall ship. Ships from all over the Great Lakes will converge on Traverse City this weekend for several days of fun and celebration.

The festival includes schooner rides, of course, and also features artisans, musicians, live pirate re-enactments, displays, and education exhibits. The Welcome, a replica of a British armed sloop from the War of 1812 will be giving cannon demonstrations throughout the day on Saturday beginning at 12 noon. There is also a pirate and pancake breakfast for those who rise early on Saturday.

Tickets are $5 for adults and children. For the price of admission, children are also given 5 free tickets for carnival games. The tickets get you admission to the festival and tours of the three ships that are docked. It appears that the sloop Welcome and the schooner Madeline are among the three docked ships.

The ships on display will include those from the Maritime Heritage Alliance, including: the Welcome, an armed sloop, the Champion, a cutter, the Madeline a schooner and the Arcturos and the Gracie L.

Inland Seas Education Association will also be present and will show off their ship the Inland Seas. Bay Sail from Bay City will arrive with their ship Appledore V. And, Pier Wisconsin will show the ship S/V Denis Sullivan.

That should be enough schooners for almost anyone, but there is always the possibility of other ships dropping in for the festivities. Traverse Bay is also the home of another tall ship, the Manitou which may be on hand, but is not listed on the official roster for this season.

Schooner rides will be offered for $40 starting at 10am. Great Lakes cruises on schooners are all considered small ship cruises. Compare the 50 to 100 passenger sizes of these schooners against the 500 plus passenger sizes of ocean going cruise ships and it is easy to see why these are rated as small ship cruises. Even so, these schooners are not the small little sailboats that you see coasting across the lake. These are vessels large enough to carry passengers in comfort and safety. They are well worth coming to see and are an excellent educational experience for teens, tweens and youngers.

For those unfamiliar with Traverse City, it is located in the Northeastern corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula. The city sits on the south shore of Grand Traverse bay, which has played the role of one of the more important ports in the lower peninsula for many years. This is the location the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and the port for the State of Michigan, a 160 foot ship the school maintains and uses for educational training cruises.

If you’ve given any thought to a Great Lakes cruise, a schooner cruise, a tall ship cruise or just a small ship cruise and you are anywhere near Traverse City Michigan, you might want to visit this event. If you miss it this year, mark your calendar and catch it next year. All of the proceeds go to helping preserve these fine ships and the history that goes with them. A history that belongs not only to all of us, but to our children as well.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.

Powered by FeedBurner