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Festival of Sail will grace San Diego's waterfront in September

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The 2014 Festival of Sail, hosted by the Maritime Museum of San Diego, will transform the North Embarcadero into a nautical theme park.

More than 20 tall ships and other fascinating vessels from around the world will visit San Diego, Aug. 29-Sept. 1. The festival kicks off with a majestic parade of tall ships on San Diego Bay, Thursday, Aug. 28. Parade begins at 11 a.m. and can be seen from the embarcadero, Harbor Island, Shelter Island and Coronado.

Festival visitors will enjoy touring the ships, marvelous food and drink from dozens of restaurant booths, a petting zoo, pirates, cannon battles on the bay, sunset cruises and shop for one of-a-kind items among more than 150 festival vendors.

Parade of Sail -- The festival will kick off with a grand parade of sail on San Diego Bay at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28. More than a dozen majestic windjammers will sail into San Diego's harbor in a magnificent nautical procession. The best spots to view from shore include the Maritime Museum, Cabrillo National Monument, local restaurants and businesses on Shelter Island, Harbor Island and the North Embarcadero. Please note that the list of ships scheduled to appear in the parade is subject to change. Ships should be docked by 2 p.m. at the museum and open for visitation starting on Friday, Aug. 29 at 9 a.m.

The Festival Ships -- The festival will include more than 20 tall ships and other extraordinary vessels from around the world. The official tall ship of California, the Californian, the Gaff topsail schooner Bill of Rights, Irving and Exy Johnson, twin ships from San Pedro, and many more. A complete list of the participating ships can be found on the museum's website at: www.sdmaritime.org. Please note that the list of ships scheduled to appear in the festival is subject to change.

Cannon Battles -- Join the crew for a cannon battle at sea and experience naval warfare during the age of sail! Several ships will engage in cannon battle reenactments on San Diego Bay during the festival. Individuals can purchase tickets to be on board for the experience. Tickets are $65 for adults and $40 for children 12 and under. This is not recommended for children under 5. A 2014 tall ships ticket is also required. Tickets are for sale now on the museum's website at www.sdmaritime.org. Cannon battle sails will sell out so we suggest that people get their tickets early.

Kids Zone -- Petting zoo will be open Sat, Sun and Mon from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Petting zoo is included with admission.

Napoleonic Cannon Firings -- The 12-pound cannons, known as Napoleons, are authentic Civil War cannons built in 1863, not replicas. The museum's Shore Battery Artillery Team will also salute the ships with several rounds of fire as they pass by during the parade. The unit will demonstrate how the guns are cleaned and then will fire the 3- and 4-pound guns for a “noon salute” each day as well as firing volleys at the ships during the Gun Battles on the Bay.

Tall Ships Tickets -- Visitors must purchase a tall ships ticket to tour the festival ships. Each participating ship has its own unique stamp and guests can get their tickets stamped at each vessel. Tickets are an exceptional value at only $7 for adults and $5 for children (age 3-12), Seniors (62 and over) and military (valid identification required). Tickets are for sale now on the Maritime Museum's website at www.sdmaritime.org and will also be for sale at the festival. Tickets include entrance to the Maritime Museum of San Diego during the event and the build site for the construction of the new ship the San Salvador. Entrance to visit the vendor area is free.

San Salvador Village -- Admission to the village where the museum is building a replica of Juan Rodriguez's ship, San Salvador, is included with festival admission. Watch the ship take shape as master shipbuilders create this magnificent galleon. Village also includes demonstrations by the Kumeyaay, blacksmithing, sailing making, and much more. Site is located at 4300 N. Harbor at the intersection of Spanish Landing Way and N. Harbor Drive across from the airport.

The Festival of Sail will be located along the North Embarcadero between Ash and Grape Street. Parking will be extremely limited, we urge festival visitors to use public transportation. The County Center/Little Italy trolley station is only 3 blocks from the festival. For those that must drive their cars, nearby paid parking lots are available.

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