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Basil Port of Call: Buffalo – be on the look out for this historic event to celebrate Buffalo’s maritime heritage

© by Tall Ships America, Greenport

In 2019, the view from Buffalo’s waterfront will look as it did over 100 years ago, as we welcome a majestic fleet of historic tall ships – for the first time in modern history – from harbors throughout the United States and Canada. Basil Port of Call: Buffalo, a four-day, family-friendly celebration of the city’s maritime heritage, will take place Thursday, July 4 through Sunday, July 7, 2019 at Canalside and along the downtown waterfront.

Event organizer and founding president of the Buffalo Lighthouse Association, Michael Vogel, adds “what we are hoping to do is establish a recurring signature event for Buffalo’s waterfront, providing a great visitor and local family experience with a major economic impact. For us it’s all about the ships and the link to this city’s rich maritime heritage, but we’re also looking to showcase Buffalo’s new recreational waterfront and put it solidly on the national ship-visit map.”

The multi-day event offers visitors a unique opportunity to view, board and explore the vessels. Festivities will include family activities, live entertainment, historic exhibits, artisan foods and beverages, music, and a Parade of Sail of the tall ship fleet. Bert Rogers, Executive Director, Tall Ships America said, “Reflecting its past as the Queen City of the Great Lakes and paying tribute to the 21st century rebirth of its waterfront, we are excited to bring the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® to Buffalo and honor a city that played a role in maritime history as one of the North’s largest trade ports. We are also thrilled to recognize Buffalo’s long, peaceful relationship and shared waters with Canada.”  

VIDEO: Tall Ships Challenge, 2009

Buffalo will serve as a new host port of the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2019 race from Toronto to Buffalo, on July 4-7, 2019. The TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® is an annual series of tall ships races and maritime port festivals on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts that informs the general public about tall ships, maritime heritage, and sail training. For the first time in its modern history, at least seven Class A and Class B vessels will simultaneously grace the Buffalo waterfront, evoking an era of romance and adventure.

Vogel says, “If we succeed, this will happen every three years — and in 2025, that will coincide with the major celebration of the bicentennial of the Erie Canal.”

It is expected that this event will have a $6 to $8 million dollar economic impact on the local economy. The event hosts are preparing for more than 125,000 visitors from WNY and across the region. Most event activities and viewing are free and open to the public. There will be additional paid “Passport” ticketing options that allow for a closer view and boarding of some of the ships.

Ticket information and the schedule of events will be released in late 2018. Currently, they are seeking event volunteers. Individuals who are interested in volunteering can sign up through the event website.

For more information visit, or follow on Facebook at @PortofCallBuffalo

Buffalo Rising is a proud media sponsor of this historic event.

Written by Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli

Jessica Marinelli is an author, speaker, coach, marketer, and business development strategist. Her professional consulting company, MEMC handles all aspects of marketing and business development planning and implementation, assisting with strategic planning initiatives and the creation of marketing action plans, as well as planning and executing private and public events, including: the coaching of individuals, multi-day conferences, as well as other development initiatives. In addition to her work with MEMC, Jessica oversees the day-to-day operations and strategic marketing efforts at Local Matters, Inc. the parent company of Buffalo Rising.

She is active in her community and serves on several non-profit boards, such as WNY Heritage Magazine, O'Connell & Company Productions, and the Women's Business Center (WBC) Advisory Board. She is also a Democratic Committee Member in the Town of Tonawanda. Most recently, She has been asked to serve as the Marketing Consultant for the WBC's COVID Recovery Task Force.

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