History and military buffs are expected to converge at Port Clinton and the Lake Erie islands this weekend for the bicentennial celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie. Sixteen tall ships representing the U.S. and Great Britain are arriving in the lake's western basin today to re-enact a significant battle during the War of 1812.
The actual skirmish happened Sept. 10, 1813, in open waters about 16 miles northwest of South Bass Island in Lake Erie. Led by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a U.S. fleet defeated the British to take U.S. control of the lake.
Sailing on the ship Niagara, Perry flew a flag emblazoned with the words, "Don't give up the ship."
The Niagara sails before the entangled H.M.S. Detroit and H.M.S. Queen Charlotte during the Battle of Lake Erie in this illustration provided by the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The tall ships are to be docked at various ports Friday through Sunday. Some offer self-guided dockside tours for $5 to $10. Crew members are to be available to answer questions. Day sails range in price from $45 to $60 and last about 90 minutes.
In Port Clinton, the tall ships Playfair and Pathfinder are to be docked noon-8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased online at ticketfly.com/event/292189, by calling (800) 441-1271 or at the event.
Meanwhile, in Sandusky
Today, the Goodtime I is offering a Tall Ships Welcome Cruise from Jackson Street Pier in Sandusky. The cost is $30. Watch the parade of tall ships entering the harbor at Put-in-Bay. The Goodtime I is to leave the dock in Sandusky at noon and arrive in the harbor around 2 p.m. The tall ships are to arrive at 2-4 p.m.
Light appetizers are to be served and drinks can be purchased from the bar. Singer Lee Murdock is to provide entertainment with songs and stories of the Great Lakes. The boat is to dock for about two hours after the tall ships arrive. Riders can enjoy the festivities on Put-in-Bay before returning to the Goodtime I dock in Sandusky.
For tickets and information, visit www.goodtimeboat.com or call (419) 625-9692.
At Kelly's Island, tall ship Appledore IV is to host dockside tours 2-5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Day sails are to be available at 10 a.m., noon and 6:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Order tickets online at www.ticketfly.com/event267895.
For more information, visit www.kellysislandchamber.com or call (419) 746-2360.
At Put-in-Bay, the brig Niagara is to give on-board tours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. A reconstructed replica of the original Niagara, the ship has four replica cannons.
Tall ships Windy and Halie & Matthew are to host day sails Friday through Sunday. Order online at ticketfly.com/event/24505.
At Catawba, the tall schooner Hindu is to be docked at the Catawba Island Club for members only, but it can be viewed from Catawba Island State Park in Port Clinton.
Madeline is to dock at Middle Bass Island Yacht Club, with public tours 9 a.m.-noon Sunday. It can be viewed from Middle Bass Island State Park.
Liana's Ransom, with a pirate crew, is to dock at Pelee's Island.
The actual re-enactment is set for about 11:30 a.m. Monday at the original battle site, rain or shine. If high winds and waves should develop, a decision would be made that morning about going forward with the re-enactment.
The battle will not be visible from land but boaters can register at Lake Erie Shores & Islands (www.shoresandislands.com) to be near the action. More than 700 private boats have registered to participate in the fleet for the battle re-enactment.
Another option is to view the re-enactment from Perry's Monument. Weather permitting, the observation deck is to be open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday at a cost of $3 for ages 16 and older and free for those 15 and younger.
The park service plans to limit time at the top to 10-15 minutes to give everyone at least a glimpse of the battle. Bring binoculars. The re-enactment also is to be streamed live online at www.portclintonradio.com.
Film and television actor Billy Campbell is to portray Perry for the re-enactment.
In addition to Niagara, the battle is to include the Sorlandet, the world's oldest fully-rigged tall ship.
Jet Express is selling tickets online for the weekend at www.jet-express.com. Discount Jet Express and Miller Ferry tickets are to be available at the Lake Erie Shores & Island Welcome Center in Port Clinton. Both boat docks will have tickets for sale, but customers might not get on the boat at the desired time due to high demand.
Musical entertainment begins today at 7 p.m. with a free outdoor barbershop quartet concert at the Ida Rupp Library, 310 Madison St., Port Clinton. The Navy Band is to play at 6 p.m. Friday at Perry's Memorial at Put-in-Bay. Saturday, the band is to give a concert at 7 p.m. at Water Works Park in Port Clinton. The rain location is Trinity Church, Adams and Second streets.
The Ohio State Marching Band is to give a concert at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Water Works Park, Jefferson and Perry Streets, Port Clinton. The band is to travel to Put-in-Bay for another concert at 3:20 p.m. and march to the Niagara Event Center. At 8 p.m., they are to march from the center to Perry's Monument for a free performance.
Kelly's Island is to have a parade at noon Saturday with a 120-piece band, a bagpipe band and antique cars. In addition to a a War of 1812 encampment, the historical association is to give living history presentations and demonstrations.
Musical entertainment is to take place each day. A magic show, wandering clowns and jugglers, art and crafts vendors, food stands and other activities also are planned.
A tethered hot air balloon ride is to be available at the 4-H camp. View the sailing ships via airplane or take a cruise on the schooner Journey.