Galveston turning into something off the set of Pirates of the Caribbean with the return of the annual Tall Ships Challenge – a maritime festival with a fleet of ships dating back to the 1800s.
Tall Ships Challenge is an annual festival that draws in hundreds of thousands of people to witness magnificent traditional ships set sail in port. This year, the festival is hosting three events in St. Petersburg and Pensacola, Florida, and of course, Galveston.
The nautical festival began in 2001 on the Great Lakes, where it hosted ships from six countries that would go on to seven North American ports. Now, the Tall Ships Challenge, in addition to the grand fleet of vessels traveling across the Gulf of Mexico, features food, fun, special events, and sail-away excursions.
From Thursday, April 13, to Sunday, April 16, the festival will host six grand vessels ranging from a 1877 square-rigged iron barque to an oceanic research vessel – you know the ones…
“Since its launch, the Tall Ships Challenge® series has visited dozens of North American cities, bringing millions of spectators down to the waterfront to experience the tall ships and creating a cumulative economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars for host communities. It has continued to grow every year and is an eagerly anticipated event in the seaside communities that host the vessels and beyond.”
The Tall Ships challenge made its Galveston debut back in 2018, the April festival will be the first time the town has hosted the festival since then. Those who attended the festival five years ago will see the return of Galveston’s Elissa, the aforementioned square-rigged iron barque, as well as the When and If, a wood-hulled schooner.
Here, visitors will also be able to explore Elissa’s home, Galveston Seaport Museum. Recently remodeled, the museum tracks Galveston’s nautical history of commerce and immigration.