Photo by Pal Alvsaker

The long-awaited Tall Ships Celebration launches on Thursday as the fleet of  tall ships sails down the Saginaw River and docks on both sides of the river in Bay City for three days of high sea spirited fun for all ages.


If you want to watch this regal procession down the river, a number of public areas welcome you. These include, from north to south: 

End of Sunrise Road
DNRE boat launch off Shady Shore Road
U.S. Coast Guard Station - Saginaw River
End of Main Street in Essexville
Golson Nature Park at the end of Johnson Street 


Each ship is a replica of a historical ship and has a number of stories to tell. They are open for an interactive and educational tour with the crew in costume and ready to act their parts. Tickets for the multi-day event are available for $12 at the State Theatre in downtown Bay City and at Jack's Fruit & Meat Markets in Bay City, Essexville, Midland, and Saginaw. Daily admission is $6 at the gate.

Denis Sullivan
HMS Bounty
The Europa
Pride of Baltimore II
Roald Amundsen

While this special celebration only takes place every so many years, Bay City is fortunate to host two tall ships permanently: Appeldore IV and Appeldore V. 

Each ship has its own story in maritime history as a replica. To find out more about of these ships and the schedule to set sail with you aboard, see www.tallshipcelebration.com.      .


Bay City Players’ Stages of Discovery Youth Theatre teams up with professional actors from the Ring of Steel Action Theatre to amaze you with their stage combat and other entertainments.


Stages on east and west sides of the river will provide a variety of maritime-themed entertainment every hour on the hour beginning on Thursday at noon and ending at 4:00 pm. Artists will perform on both sides of the river so listeners will have ample opportunity to hear a wide variety of music. A complete schedule of performance locations and times can be found at www.tallshipcelebration.com.  

Armstrong's Patent (from The Netherlands will perform acapella sea songs)

Cré Tonnerre (from Belgium will sing in French)

Dutch Courage (also from The Netherlands, will sing in English, Dutch and Frisian)

Fish and Ships (from Norway, the group performs with instruments and sings in Norwegian and English)

(Bay City's own maritime trio has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe)

Lee Murdock (from Chicago and armed with a guitar, he sings of life on the Great Lakes)

Pint and Dale (from Seattle, WA, this duo performs maritime songs form Canada and the British Isles)

Sasiedzi (from Poland, this ensemble performs traditional songs from France, Ireland, and Scotland)
Tinker's Folly
(from Mt. Pleasant, this duo performs fiddle, guitar, and mandolin)


The Bay County Library System has put together a lineup of storytellers to appear at Wenonah Park on the east side of the river.

Genot Picor on frontier history Thursday at 2:30 pm and Friday and Saturday at 10 am.

Radio and TV personal Ric Mixter offers tales on Thursday at 4 pm and Friday at 1 pm.   

 New York actress and comic improviser Yvonne Healy takes the stage on Friday at 11:30 am.

Carri Wilson's shows are on Friday at 2:30 and 4 pm.

Recipient of a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Historical Society of Michigan, Larry Massie will bring to life voyageurs, lumberjacks, and Great Lakes ship captains on Saturday at 11:30 am and 1 pm.

Munising singer and storyteller Carl Behrend sings and tells about Michigan history on Saturday at 2:30 and 4 pm.

Folk, traditional, and modern tales are Judy Sima's specialties. See her on Sunday at 11:30 am.

Nationally known storyteller La'Ron Williams uses stories to bring out the best in people. He'll take the stage on Sunday at 1 pm.

Jenifer Strauss, who has performed her traditional and personal tales widely, will appear on Sunday at 2:30 and 4 pm.

For more information about these performers, see library .


Alice Cooper will perform on Saturday, July 17th at Veteran's Memorial Park. V.I.P. tickets are already sold out, but others are available. See www.tallshipcelebration.com for more information.

"Where Ships Happen Gallery Walk"

In the windows of selected establishment, 3x3 foot maritime-themed artworks are on display in this first-year nautical art competition.  Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite piece until July 31. A few of the venues include the following:

Do Art: team of artists
Golden Gallery: works by Adam Wernecke, Bob Graham, Saginaw River Marine Historical Society, Michelle Cormier
Herman Hiss: paintings by Paul Kusmierz
Intermission Deli: work by Sean Arnold
Kaleidoscope: paintings by Marilyn Gordon Dresser
Sempliners Bridal Salon: photos by Saginaw River Marine Historical Society
Simmons Jewelers: photos by Saginaw River Marine Historical Society
Sweet Boutique: photos by Saginaw River Marine Historical Society
Fabric Fair: quilts

Works by Sean Gallagher, Carl Larson, and Mark Piotrowski, among others are included in this show as well. For more information, visit gallery walk.