Thunder Bay Maritime Festival of Sail: Return of Duckzilla
For over 15 years the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary has hosted the Thunder Bay Maritime Festival of Sail. This year, the event returns to Alpena this weekend.
For three days, the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center will host live entertainment, activities for children, helicopter and boat rides, local food vendors and shipwreck exhibits and displays.
The music will feature traditional songs and dances to celebrate Michigan’s Great Lakes.
“We are thrilled to bring such a variety of Michigan musicians whose music reflects the spirit of the Great Lakes,” Festival Coordinator Jean Prevo said in the press release.
Stephanie Gandulla, Research Protection Coordinator at the Sanctuary, said the world’s largest duck will also be making an appearance for the second year in a row at the festival.
According to the press release, the duck is meant to encourage visitors to “… use the world’s waterfronts in a responsible and safe manner to preserve them for generations to come.”
For children, there will be chalk art, face painting, crafts, science demonstrations and underwater robots. There will also be free sailboat rides in the river for the kids, or for a fee, an all day pass that includes access to a wet and wild waterslide and giant inflatable area.
People that are interested in looking inside the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage center are able to explore the 10,000 square foot exhibit for free. According to the press release, only 100 of NOAA’s Science on a Sphere animated globe exhibits exist in the world and Alpena is home to one of them.
“It’s just a community celebration of maritime history and also just a community celebration,” Gandulla said.
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center is free and open year round for visitors and residents to explore and learn about the 200 detected shipwrecks in Thunder Bay. People can also fish, paddle, snorkel or dive the shipwrecks.
According to the press release, the festival is sponsored by the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Additionally, in support of the children activities, Home Depot of Alpena, Art in the Loft and the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena helped with the event as well.
“If you haven't been to Alpena, it's a great excuse to visit and come learn more about the area,” Gandulla said. “We’d love for people to come celebrate the rich maritime history of the Great Lakes with us here at the sanctuary.”
For a full schedule of the festivities click here.