The ribs of a ship are called its timber, and nowhere else will the Tall Ships and Ribfest celebrations be more appreciated than in the lumber-born town of Midland.
Both events start at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 22 with the Tall Ships taking place at Midland Town Dock, while the Midland Ribfest will host music, food and beverage at neighbouring Harbourside Park.
“We partnered with Ribfest,” said tourism and special events manager Nicole Major. “They will be a great addition to the tall ships event.”
As a host of the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2022, five ships from the Tall Ships America fleet will be arriving by Friday for the racing events on Saturday and Sunday.
While Midland could be in contention with other festival destinations for Port of the Year, the ships will be racing throughout the Great Lakes in the quest for the Perry Bowl awarded to the tall ship with the most victories throughout the challenge.
Visiting ships will include: the modern Huron Jewel schooner from Michigan; 15th-Century re-imagined Nao Trinidad from Spain; the 1953-constructed St. Lawrence II out of Kingston; the 1921-built HMCS Oriole from Halifax; and the 1812-era inspired Pride of Baltimore II, which Major stated was a fan favourite.
Tall ships are defined by their large forms, traditional rigging, and numerous sails on multiple masts.
While the ships are on the water, landlubbers will be able to enjoy food and music through the adjacent Northern Heat Rib Series at 475 Bayshore Drive.
Carnival foods and a kids zone will be available for the little ones, but the main attraction on the North American Summer Tour will be the large number of barbecued meat products and beer market beverages selling to those who enter the park.
Friday is country music night, with live acts: Outlaws, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.; John Anderson, 7 p.m. – 8:30pm; and the John Atlee Band, 9 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Saturday will feature rock acts: Dinner with Bowie, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Southpawz, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Wicked Truth, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.; Troy Harmer, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; and an AC/DC Tribute Band, 9 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. On Sunday is a music mash-up with: Feelin Good Band, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Emma Reynolds, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m; and Dylan Lock, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Major described the paired festivals as “a large-scale event which fills our hotels, restaurants, and keeps the downtown businesses busy all weekend.”
Entry for Ribfest is free throughout the three-day event.
The cost to tour the tall ships is $10 per person in advance, or $20 per person at the event; children under five are free. Tickets are available for purchase online through Ticketpro, or by calling 1-888-655-9090.
Further information on Tall Ships and Ribfest events are available through the Town of Midland website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca