Tall ships, cutters galore: 41st Harborfest gets underway

A tall ship is seen on the Elizabeth River from the Carnival Sunshine on June 9, 2017. Courtesy: Katherine Ostrander

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Tall ships, Coast Guard Cutters and tug boats are parading along the Elizabeth River as the 41st annual Harborfest is officially underway.

The first international tall ships arrived in Norfolk on Thursday afternoon, and more ships have been filing in along the Elizabeth River. A WAVY viewer snapped an image of the Carvinal Sunshine making its way to Town Point Park Friday morning.

Photos: 41st Norfolk Harborfest | 2017 Harborfest Guide

FestEvents CEO Karen Scherberger told WAVY.com Thursday that this will be the most tall ships in one area here since Op Sail 17 years ago.

“People will have the opportunity to go on deck meet with the crew,” she said.

Parade of Sail Live | Gallery: 2017 Parade of Sail

The festivities kicked  off Friday at noon with the Parade of Sail on the Elizabeth River. A long procession of boats proceed along the river, in front of a large crowd at the park.

The procession features Coast Guard tall ships, sail boats, Navy ships and yachts.

The view from Chopper 10 during the Parade of Sail Friday, June 9, 2017.

A huge fireworks display is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

It is one of the events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Naval Station Norfolk. There will also be something to let deployed sailors know people back home are Navy proud, Scherberger said.

“People will be able to write post cards and send video messages back to the ships to the people who are deployed.”

There are eight stages for live music performances, including national recording artist Travis Tritt and local favorite The Deloreans. Kids can enjoy a pirate jamboree and live mermaid shows and there will be work boat races along the river, as well as the popular build-a-boat event and race.

Waterside Drive is shut down in front of Town Point Park from now until 11:45 p.m. Sunday night. Parking in city garages will cost you $5 for the event. Hampton Roads Transit is also offering additional rail, bus and ferry services this weekend.