(photo credit Onne van der Wal)
This weekend (October 17-18), attendees at the 25th Annual Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival in Newport will enjoy an opportunity to board the 200-foot Tall Ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry, the Ocean State’s Official Sailing Education Vessel and the first ocean-going full-rigged ship built in America in over a century. The ship will be dockside and open for visits on both Saturday and Sunday while the Seafood Festival, named one of the “10 Fabulous Fall Festivals on the Coast,” by Coastal Living Magazine, offers fabulous fare from a record number of participating restaurants and fine-food vendors plus live music and other waterfront entertainment for the entire family.
“The 25th Annual Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival is a free, long-running fall favorite in New England, and it’s thrilling that as part of the festival, the public will have the opportunity to view the Perry up close and visit her on deck and down below,” said Bart Dunbar, president of Bowen’s Wharf Co.
Dunbar, who also is chair of Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, the non-profit organization behind the ship, said Bowen’s Wharf Co. was the first donor to the ship. (Other donors to the ship who take part in the Seafood Festival include Bannister’s Wharf, Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina and Newport Harbor Corporation.) Its contribution eight years ago allowed for the purchase of the ship’s original steel hull, which was towed to Newport from Canada.
The impressive silhouette of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry includes a towering three-masted rig, the tallest part of which reaches 13 ½ stories high; a total of 19 spars that have been turned from massive Douglas fir trees on the largest spar lathe in North America; seven miles of rope and wire that have been made integral to the ship’s operation by tradesmen trained in both modern and traditional rigging techniques; and 20 sails, both square and fore-and-aft that total 14,000 square feet.
Plan your visit to SSV Oliver Hazard Perry during the published Bowen’s Wharf Seafood Festival hours of 11 to 5 (last boarding begins at 4:30). An interactive craft and storytelling session for kids courtesy of Tyler’s Tall Tales takes place Saturday from 2 to 4:30 and Sunday from 11-1:30. Boarding requires tickets available for purchase near the ship’s gangway at family-friendly prices: $1 for kids ages 12 and under (must be accompanied by an adult) and $5 for 13 and over. Special group prices can be arranged for school and scout groups by calling 401-841-0080 before noon on Friday, October 16. The ship is handicap accessible.
To learn more about SSV Oliver Hazard Perry and its programs, or to donate, go to www.ohpri.org or call +1 401-841-0080.