OSWEGO, NY â€“ Tall ships will once again return to the Lake Ontario shoreline in the Port City.
The Oswego Festival of Sail will take place from June 25 through 27 in Oswego Harbor.
The festival will include a variety of events to attract people of all ages, according to Festival of Sail Committee member and Port of Oswego Authority executive director Jonathan Daniels, who officially announced the event Monday at the port.
â€œThe event is really going to have something for everyone,â€ he said. â€œWhether it be sail aways and costume contests or vendors and concerts, the festival will provide a broad range of weekend activities.â€
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day at the Oswego West Pier and H. Lee White Marine Museum.
The cost will be $10 per single adult, $5 for youth ages 5 to 16, free for children under 5, and/or a flat fee of $25 for families of six persons.
If you wish to participate on a sail away, there will be a separate fee.
The committee has been working on the program for a few months, Daniels said.
“What started out as a call to Shane Broadwell has blossomed into a three-day event, with three magnificent tall ships that will be arriving over at the west pier.”
The festival will include tours of the tall ships Pride of Baltimore II, Roseway, and Lynx. There will also be vendors, childrenâ€™s events, music, and sail aways on the Roseway and Lynx.
â€œOswego has such a tremendous maritime history. This event will complement that greatly over the three days,â€ said Broadwell, Festival of Sail Committee member and partner with Broadwell Properties. â€œWe look forward to having the Upstate New York community come and enjoy the beauty and splendor of these tall ships.â€
He explained he received a call last fall regarding the tall ship that visited Oswego during Harborfest and was told, “Hey, by the way” several tall ships would be passing through the area on their way to Toronto.
He then reached out to Daniels, Oswego County, the city of Oswego and others to discuss how they could bring some ships to Oswego.
“We have packaged it up and have a fantastic event. I think it’s totally unique,” he said Monday.
When they all got together, the first question was, could they pull it off?
“You cannot pull off an event such as this without corporate and civic support. Without the public support, the sponsorships, an event like this truly could not move forward,” Daniels said.
North Shore Oil Company of West Monroe wanted to become involved as an event sponsor because of the opportunities it would provide the Oswego County community, according to CEO and co-owner Harry Pratt.
“North Shore Oil Company is very proud to be a major sponsor of the festival. We couldn’t think of a better way give back to the community, not only for the community to experience the history of the tall ships but also the history of Oswego and the surrounding area, and really, Lake Ontario,” he said.
The company sees its participation in as two fold, he continued.
Firstly, Oswego County is home to North Shore Oil Company and secondly, this event gives them an excellent opportunity to support the county while helping to provide an educational avenue for youth and others throughout CNY to come to Oswego and see the beautiful harbor, and learn more about the wonderful, historic tall ships, Pratt explained.
Roy Clark, of Dunkin’ Donuts, is another major sponsor of the event.
“We’re very excited to see tall ships come to Oswego. They are part of the history of Oswego,” Clark said.
Saturday (June 26) will be Dunkinâ€™ Donuts Day at the festival.
They will be passing out discount coupons in all of their restaurant in Central New York prior to that, he noted.
The event is also being sponsored by Best Western Captainâ€™s Quarters, Step One Creative, Oswego County Department of Promotion and Tourism, City of Oswego, Pathfinder Bank, H. Lee White Marine Museum, Port of Oswego Authority, Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce and The Palladium Times.
Daniels said the committee appreciates the efforts of all the sponsors.
“We are looking to the future as well. We’d like to see this grow into an annual event,” he said. “Tall ships have always been a part of what we do; so, to be able to continue this is part of our history, it will be a part of our future.”
He also praised the H. Lee White Marine Museum for support efforts to bring the festival to Oswego.
â€œWeâ€™re very excited to announce this new Oswego event for the end of June,â€ Mercedes Niess, executive director of the museum, said in a prepared statement. â€œThe committee has worked hard to bring these three wonderful tall ships to our community, and is planning a variety of family-filled activities and events for the three-day festival.â€
A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the H. Lee White Marine Museum.
The event kicks off a kind of “Heritage” period in Oswego, Broadwell noted.
Following the festival will be the city’s Independence Day Celebration, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra’s performance at Fort Ontario and then Harborfest, he pointed out.
“So, if somebody is coming to town for this, they can stick around or come back for one of the other events,” he said. “We are really focused on highlighting everything we have going on in the community.”
It all points to the importance of tourism in the area, Daniels said.
“This is an event we’re trying to seed for the future. Whether it occurs every year or every other year, we want to ensure that Oswego is known for its hospitality. People can look forward to the tall ships coming back on a regular basis,” Daniels said.
Broadwell noted that one of the sail aways would be conducted during a simulated fire-fight with Fort Ontario.
The (tentative) weekend schedule is:
June 25 â€“ Community welcome.
Dedicated to families and our active duty, reserve and retired military men and women.
A tall ship period theme will highlight the day with a costume contest specific to that era and history.
H. Lee White Marine Museum will create a wide assortment of childrenâ€™s activities.
Along with tall ship tours, sail aways on the Roseway and Lynx, tours of H. Lee White Museum, and historical presentations at different times throughout the day.
June 26 â€“ â€œDunkinâ€™ Donuts Dayâ€ at the Oswego Festival of Sail.
Tall ship and museum tours, sail aways on the Roseway and Lynx and youth activities.
The Oswego Festival of Sail Stage will feature local musicians playing throughout the day.
June 27 â€“ Tall ship and museum tours, sail aways on the Roseway and Lynx and youth activities.
The Oswego Festival of Sail Stage will feature local musicians playing throughout the day, Broadwell said.
Additionally, the Oswego Station of the US Coast Guard will have its 47-foot Motor Life Boat available for tours throughout the weekend and there will be an air rescue demonstration with a US Coast Guard HH65 Helicopter on June 26 at 1 p.m., he added.
Also available for tours will be the National Historic Landmark World War II Tugboat the LT-5, which served during the Normandy Invasion and the 1925 NYS Canal Boat.
The LT-5 is part of the H. Lee Marine Museum ongoing exhibit.
Oswego’s assistant director of community development, said, “This kind of partnership is something that makes Oswego really fabulous. It’s good for economic development, it’s good for tourism it’s good for our community.”
“The community wants to see the water used more,” she added. “They want more recreational opportunities. Our history is based on tall ships, shipbuilding and those kinds of things. This is another step in getting people to Oswego to see how great we are. We have a lot of great downtown businesses we’d like to support as well.”
â€œThe Festival of Sail will be a great tourist event this upcoming summer,â€ agreed Dave Turner, Festival of Sail Committee member and Oswego County Director of Community Development, Tourism and Planning. â€œThe interest that comes with tall ships like the Pride of Baltimore II, Roseway, and Lynx is enormous, and weâ€™re confident that this new event will draw thousands to the region.â€
Cultural and heritage tourism is a really important part of the county’s tourism mix, he said.
“The waterfront history, nowhere is it documented better than at the H. Lee White Marine Museum,” Turner said. “We’re very pleased to be working with them.”
The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce will help promote the area’s businesses during the Festival of Sail with a “festival of sales,” according to Beth Hilton, executive director.
The theme of the Independence Celebration, “Honoring Our Heritage,” also ties in with the Festival of Sail, she added.
For more information on the Oswego Festival of Sail event or for sponsorship opportunities, call (315) 402-8802.