Tall ships to gather in Portland Harbor this weekend

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PORTLAND — They’ll be coming around the Head Light when they come. Then they will fill the harbor around Maine State Pier.

Iberdrola USA Tall Ships Portland 2015 will bring a dozen or more sailing ships to the city from Saturday through Tuesday, July 21, including replicas of a Spanish galleon and a Baltimore Clipper ship, local sailing ships, and the Bowdoin, the flagship of the Maine Maritime Academy sail training fleet.

The ships are expected to muster southeast of Portland Head Light around 1:15 p.m. for a Parade of Sail from Cape Elizabeth to the Maine State Pier. Casco Bay Lines will offer excursions aboard the Aucocisco III to view the parade from the water.

The Maine State Pier will open at 1 p.m., with ships expected to dock at and around the pier at 4 p.m., followed by a Maine Pops concert at 5 p.m., and opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. The evening wraps up with a concert by Buffalo Ship Tea at 7 p.m.

Food and beverages will be available, with all festival food prepared by city businesses and food trucks.

Free parade viewing spots include Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth; Willard Beach, Southern Maine Community College and Bug Light Park in South Portland, and Fort Allen Park in Portland.

The parade can also be viewed from the grounds of the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum, which is part of the former Portland Co. complex at 58 Fore St.

In South Portland, Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse will be open for the parade for a donation of $50 per person. The admission fees will go to the Spring Point Ledge Light Trust, the nonprofit that operates and maintains the lighthouse.

On Sunday and Monday, July 19 and 20, the festival continues at 10 a.m. with public boarding of the ships at the Maine State Pier, Maine Wharf, Ocean Gateway Terminal and Port Ocean Terminal.

With the ships tours are children’s activities and a variety of nautical educational programs including celestial navigation, sailing a tall ship, and conversations with visiting captains.

Before the parade, the Spanish El Galeon Andalucia will host a ball from 6-10 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $100 and benefit Tall Ships Portland and SailMaine.

Tall Ships Portland will be celebrated indoors at the Merrill Auditorium at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 19, with a screening of the silent film “Old Ironsides.” The seafaring adventure starring Charles Farrell and Wallace Beery will be accompanied by Peter Krasinki on the Kotzschmar Organ. Admission is $15.

The ships will depart July 21.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.