By Seth Daniel
In 2014, when the Sail Boston return was announced for 2017, the National Park Service stood side by side with the organizers and have been “all-in” every since.
This weekend, the Navy Yard will be a featured location for the Parade of Sail on Saturday morning and the overall Family Festival throughout Saturday and Sunday, as some 16 ships prepare to drop anchor in Charlestown to join the festivities.
“I want to emphasize that this is a community event,” said Michael Creasy, superintendent of he National Parks of Boston. “A few years back when they announced this, we said we very much wanted to be a part of Sail Boston. It is going to not only be a National Park event, but also a community event for Charlestown. We’ve tried very hard to make sure Charlestown sees itself in Sail Boston.”
As far as the ships go and Saturday’s Parade of Sail, the agenda has been advanced and things will start a little earlier than first believed.
The Parade of Sail will now begin at 8 a.m. and will be led by the US Coast Guard’s Eagle, which will eventually be based in the Navy Yard on Pier 1 for the week. At 9:30 a.m., on the Cassin Young, there will be a Charlestown Opening Ceremony, and at 10:15 a.m., Navy fighter jets will do a flyover of the Harbor and Charlestown.
The Cassin Young ceremony will feature the Constitution Color Guard, Sea Cadets, the Irish American Police Officers Association Pipes and Drums Band and the very interesting US Coast Guard Silent Drill Team.
Ships are expected to conclude the Parade of Sail and move to their stations in the Navy Yard by around noon. Food, crafts and music in the Navy Yard will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m. and continue through 6 p.m. However, the fun doesn’t end at 6 p.m., as a lively swing dance on the Marine Barracks Lawn will take place to the sounds of Baby Soda Swing Band.
Of particular note is the music program, which will include two stages – one at the Commandant’s House Lawn and a second at the Shipyard Park. The highlights on Saturday include:
- 10 a.m. Honk Band, Commandant’s Stage
- 10 a.m., Rum Soaked Crooks, Shipyard Park
- 1 p.m., Mufaro Kambarami, Commandant’s Stage
- 2 p.m. Gerson Eguiguren (Ecuador), Shipyard
- 2 p.m. Ron Reid Steel Drum Calypso, Commandant’s
- 5 p.m Zili Misik Haitian Band, Commandant’s
- 5 p.m Atileo Tedoldi Canadian R&B, Shipyard
At each stage location there will be food, some offerings from Charlestown businesses, and beer and wine. Decco Restaurant in the Navy Yard will also have an expanded beer and wine tent with food too.
In preparation for the big crowds, Creasey said the Commandant’s House has undergone some extensive repairs on the first floor and outside over the last three months. That will be unveiled this Saturday.
“By Sail Boston, the Commandant’s House will be refurbished and restored on the first floor and on the outside,” he said. “It’s going to be a special opportunity of us to showcase it. It’s been a lot of work.”
A full lineup of bands will also be on track for Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well – with an all-teen band called Kalliope Jones taking the Commandant’s Stage at noon.
Both days will also feature a Family Engagement Zone with numerous fun activities programmed by the National Parks and its partners.
Of course, throughout the afternoon and evening, ships will be open for tours and fun as well.
Security is expected to be very tight in the Navy Yard during the Parade of Sail only, on Saturday from around 6 a.m. to noon – so that is to be noted as there are many restrictions.
On Monday, more than 400 Boston Public School students from all over the City are expected to be in the Navy Yard to tour the ships, greeted by Mayor Martin Walsh and Supt. Tommy Chang.
Not to be missed will be a great Sunset Salute on Tuesday night, June 20, from 7-9 p.m. in the Navy Yard. The Lynn English High Color Guard will bear flags from 14 countries, the US Coast Guard Silent Drill Team will perform, and “Singing” Sgt. Dan Clark will perform. The program will conclude with Evening Colors Ceremony at 8:24 p.m. sharp.
Creasey said once again that the celebration would likely be a big test for what more can be done in the Navy Yard to draw in the Town more often.
“We see this as a model for what can be done in the future to collaborate and celebrate,” he said.