The sixth annual summer fundraising party for Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island (OHPRI) raised over $50,000 for the non-profit organization’s education-at-sea programs. Held Thursday, June 28 at Newport’s Fort Adams State Park, where SSV Oliver Hazard Perry was dockside and open for tours, the event celebrated the Tall Ship’s 2018 voyages and the momentum her programs have enjoyed since she first sailed in 2015. Honored in memoriam was Founding Board Member Brendan Kelley who was a co-chair of the event with his wife Pam Kelly, Dayton Carr and Karen Kelly Shea.

Supporters gathered at Fort Adams State Park for Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island’s “Experience, Education, Exploration” Summer Party on Thursday, June 28. (All photos credit Jessica Pohl Photography)

Enjoying this year’s “Experience, Education, Exploration” theme, approximately 250 guests were treated to passed hors-d’oeuvres, cocktails (including “The Oliver Hazard Pear-y” signature beverage), and a fresh seafood raw bar under a cocktail tent before heading to the nearby Great Tent for dinner, auctions and dancing to the music of DJ Bell.

Major sponsors were Bowen’s Wharf, BankNewport, BankRI, J. Goodison Company, Inc., Newport Biodiesel, Newport Restaurant Group, Nicholson Yachts, KVH Industries, and PDQ Printing.

The most popular live-auction items were the Shuckin’ Truck, an all-you-can-eat raw bar for up to 60 friends, a four-course dinner for eight at the new Diego’s Barrio Cantina, and a Chef’s Tasting Dinner offered by Blackstone Caterers.

The building of SSV Oliver Hazard Perry has been a $16 million economic development project, which has supported hundreds of jobs in the Rhode Island marine industry. Since she sailed south in February of this year, Perry has been visited by nearly 40,000 people during deck tours in Philadelphia as well as in Jacksonville, Palm Beach, and the ports of call of the Tall Ships Gulf Challenge in Galveston, Pensacola and New Orleans. This spring and summer she hosted educational voyages for students from the Mid-Atlantic Maritime Academy of Norfolk, Va., the Newport-based Naval Academy Prep School and Aquidneck Island High Schools before getting underway with open-enrollment teen voyages and more student voyages along the Eastern Seaboard for the balance of July and August.

SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is not a replica but a modern, steel-hulled vessel purpose-built for training and education to the highest modern safety standards. She sails in New England and the Canadian Maritimes during the summer and in Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean in the winter.

For more information on SSV Oliver Hazard Perry and its programs, visit

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