Cleveland Tall Ships Festival Brings Family Fun to Lake Erie

Cleveland Tall Ships Festival Brings Family Fun to Lake Erie

- in Things to do

Get your “sea legs” ready for this weekend. The Tall Ships are here! The Tall Ships festival, which runs through July 14, features a fleet of replica and restored ships from the U.S. It provides a rare experience for families.

The festival, which last came to Cleveland in 2013, provides opportunities for attendees to  tour the ships, talk to the crew, and enjoy a maritime festival, which includes live music performances, festival food and beverage options. Guests also can take a 90-minute excursion on Lake Erie, and learn more about the maritime heritage of North America.

This fleet of historic tall ships includes the S/V Denis Sullivan. Recently, I went aboard the tall ship after the Project YESS students — a program by the Rotary Club of Cleveland for ages 13-17 to develop teamwork, leadership and navigational skills — got back from their weeklong sailing adventure.

According to, The S/V Denis Sullivan, owned and operated by Discovery World Ltd., was completed by over 900 volunteers in 2000. This replica of a Great Lakes schooner, and Flagship of Wisconsin, operates as a floating classroom and goodwill ambassador for the State of Wisconsin. The homeport is in Milwaukee.

Walking on the S/V Denis Sullivan, I felt that I was taken back to another time. The ship provides more than a history lesson — it’s also a great reminder to kids about water and boat safety.

Visit for more information and tickets. 


The S/V Denis Sullivan docked in Cleveland after a weeklong sail with Project YESS students. (All photos by Angela Gartner)

Below deck, sleeping quarters.

About the author

Angela Gartner is the editor at Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine. She previously served as editor for family and general interest magazines in the region. As a journalist, her articles and columns have appeared in newspapers and other publications including The News-Herald, Sun Newspapers as well as the Chicago Tribune. She grew up in Northeast Ohio and is a mom of two boys. The whole family is busy each weekend with sports and finding new happenings around the region. She loves reading books, being a board member at the Cleveland Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and taking the family dog, a Scottish Terrier named Jagger, on his walks.

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