The largest gathering of Tall Ships in North America will sail into Nova Scotia ports July 13-23 for the Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival 2007. “Tall Ships is the kind of event that fits perfectly with our tourism strategy because it lets people experience our maritime culture and history firsthand,” said Len Goucher, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “We expect more than 600,000 people on the waterfronts at participating ports across our province, bringing direct and indirect economic benefits as high as $19 million.” This year’s American Sail Training Association (ASTA) Tall Ships Challenge is the largest gathering of world-class Tall Ships beginning with a four-day event in Halifax from July 13 to 16. The Parade of Sail will be Monday, July 16. Designated ships will then head north to Cape Breton, with plans to visit the ports of Louisbourg, Port Hawkesbury and Sydney. Other ships will head to the mainland for planned stops at Pictou, Lunenburg, Shelburne and Yarmouth. The ships for each port, entertainment details and specific dates will be announced after they are finalized. “Tall Ships is a great event to showcase our province, and its natural treasures — our ports,” said Eric Thomson, chair of the Waterfront Development Corporation Ltd. (WDCL).”WDCL is proud to produce the Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival 2007, and I encourage all of you to invite your friends and family home for the best party of the summer. Tall Ships from Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India and the Netherlands will participate in the 10-day festival. In addition to the Tall Ships fleet and the Nova Scotia Schooner Association fleet, there were be 12 to 15 classic yachts from the Marblehead race as well as 12 to 15 classic yachts from the Cruising Club of America fleet berthed on the Halifax waterfront, adding to the atmosphere of the event. The Halifax event differs slightly from the rest of the ports, as this is the finish line for the Tall Ships Challenge, an ASTA Tall Ships race from Newport, R.I., to Halifax. The American Sail Training Association has named Halifax the Port of the Year each time the city has hosted the Tall Ships event, and organizers are setting their sights on the award for 2007. “This gathering is truly an opportunity to showcase our province, our hospitality and maritime traditions,” said, festival director David Jones. “The Halifax Harbour is going to be alive with entertainment and activities, more than 60 vessels, and hundreds of international crew members.” The theme for the Halifax event is The Pirates are Coming and the Halifax waterfront has been divided into five zones that will have ships, entertainment, vendors and activities. During the day, the Dartmouth waterfront will host a Kid Zone at Pirate’s Landing. Children younger than 12 and their parents can learn how to walk and talk like a pirate, make costumes and dig for treasure as well as other activities. And what’s a pirate camp kid zone without ships — there will also be Tall Ships on the Dartmouth waterfront. The Halifax waterfront will have entertainment venues from the Cunard Centre in the south, to Casino Nova Scotia in the north. A large outdoor festival plaza will be located on the parking lot between Summit Place and the Waterfront Warehouse Restaurant. Detailed entertainment lineups will be announced closer to the event. There will be a mix of themed parties, concerts and an eclectic group of pirates and privateers, cannon battles and more along the waterfront each day. Festival organizers want to advise the public that there have been changes to marine security requirements since the 2004 event. International and Transport Canada security regulations may require adults to have photo ID to board some of the international ships. Children will be admitted with a parent that shows photo ID. There may be some ships that will be behind gates, and photo ID will also be required to board them. For more information on the ships, festival events, tickets and boarding passes see the website at www.tallshipsnovascotia.com.