The Tall Ships Festival is bringing history to life in Charleston this weekend.
Nine tall ships will be docked at the Charleston Naval Shipyard through 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21.
According to the Post and Courier, there hasn’t been that many tall ships docked in Charleston at one time since 2009.
The ships have sailed from all over the world — Argentina, Germany, Nova Scotia, The Netherlands — bringing culture along with the maritime history lessons.
Some of the ships are a bit more local. Two ships sailed from New York, one from New Hampshire, one from Maryland and two from Florida, according to the festival’s website.
And, of course, there’s one ship that didn’t sail away from home at all — The Spirit of South Carolina, a Charleston-based Gaff Schooner 2 that was built in 2007.
While festival-goers might look at these ships in awe, the sight wouldn’t have been too uncommon in Charleston’s early history.
According to the Post and Courier, Charleston had made its mark as a trade center by 1750 and became the colonies’ fourth largest port by 1770.
The Port of Charleston remains a bustling trade center today, bringing in more than $150 million worth of trade per day, the Post and Courier reports.
While the ships are the main event, the festival also includes vendors, live music, art exhibits, a wooden boat show and more family-friendly activities.
One family-friendly activity is pirate camp, a reenactment by the Charles Towne Few that provides a “unique opportunity to learn and see how 17th and 18th century tradesmen and sailors and people lived in this period of our country’s history and planted the seeds of our current American society.”
The festival is free and open to the public.
Festival-goers can purchase tickets to tour or even sail on the tall ships. Ticket prices vary per ship.
On-site parking costs $5 for the day, but is limited.
The Tall Ships Festival hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.