Anchors aweigh! The tall ships sailed in to Port Erie on Thursday to officially kick off this year's Tall Ships Festival.
"This is the story that made this town, took it from a town of 50 people to over 1,000 in pretty much over night building Perry's fleet," said Captain Wesley Heerssen, of the Brig Niagara. "To have this type of recognition of people coming down from Harrisburg, around the country, around the world with ships like Sorlandet here, is a great honor."
Erie's Flagship Niagara led the charge Thursday afternoon, during the Parade of Sail. The land lovers watching along the bayfront said the view was just breath-taking.
"It gives me goose bumps just seeing them," said Jennifer Michel, of Erie. "It's amazing, I wish my kids could have been here for it. It's just an amazing opportunity and we appreciate having them come to Erie."
"Just phenomenal," said Donna Bauer, of Shaler. "You see these masts come between the trees and then they come around the corner. The Flagship Niagara when it came through, I had tears in my eyes it was unbelievable."
As beautiful as it was to see the ships sail through the channel, people watching said learning the history behind these vessels, was just as impressive.
"Those ships are not just history, they're beauty and they're crafted with love," said Ann Muscarella-Stanko, of Erie. "They've got a lot of miles on the water on them."
"It was a great history lesson for anybody that was here in terms of how these men lived and what they did and how the ships are, some are volunteer today and public service," said Linda McKernan, of Erie. "Just the whole evolution is beautiful."
The parade of sail was just the beginning. Throughout the weekend, you'll get to 'know the ropes,' and visit with the crews of the 10 ships.
"They're just one of the joys of being in Erie," said Muscarella-Stanko. You can see them other places, but not too often can you see this many together."
The ships will be in the bay throughout the weekend. You can check them out Friday from 2 PM - 6PM, and both Saturday and Sunday 10 AM - 6 PM.