Where else on the planet can you see the world's largest rubber duck this weekend? Nowhere but Philly. That's just the icing on the cake for the Tall Ships Festival, bringing a fleet of over a dozen majestic tall ships to both sides of the Delaware.
Between the gazing and marveling on the shores of both Philadelphia and Camden, there are plenty of events set for the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden 2015 festival, cruising down the Delaware from Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28.
Spread over two waterfronts, the 13 visiting tall ships, both international and domestic, (as well as Independence Seaport Museum's Olympia and Camden's Battleship New Jersey) will be available to view throughout the course of the weekend.
Rubber Ducky, you're the one. A 61-foot-tall, 11-ton rubber duck — the world's largest, in fact — will splish-splash on the Camden side of the festival.
On both shores, entertainment areas will include performance stages, beer gardens, — serving Victory, Troegs and Flying Fish beer and Bluecoat American Dry Gin — food and souvenir vendors, exhibits, Ferris wheels and bounce houses. Live performers include Trinidelphia, Man About a Horse, Active Navy Rock Band and more. Check out the daily entertainment lineup.
The Independence Seaport Museum's (211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.) second-floor balcony transforms into the Tall Ships Tavern where diners will be treated to a menu selection of both alcoholic (Victory, Troegs, Sailor Jerry, New Amsterdam Vodka, Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer) and non-alcoholic beverages, and food options like fish and chips, chicken fingers, po'boys and burgers. Tall Ships Tavern is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, June 25, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27 and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 28.
The majestic vessels set sail into the festival starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 25. The Battleship New Jersey (100 Clinton St., Camden) will also offer tours and a spot to view the Parade of Sail. These bad boys will trickle in throughout the day, until about 4 or 5 p.m.
For a swanky after-hours event, head over to the Independence Seaport Museum (211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.) on Friday, June 26 for their Young Friends Starlight and Luminaries party, featuring an open bar, food from Alma de Cuba and Parc, and dancing to your heart's content. Don't forget the ace views of the tall ships. The party runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Once festival gates close on Saturday, June 27, the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" will turn up the volume on patriotic jams at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing (101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.) starting at 8 p.m. The evening will be topped with a fireworks display. Update: The concert has been cancelled. Fireworks have been rescheduled until 9:30 p.m. Sunday, June 28.
Dining deals from Tim Reardon
A number of local eateries are getting in on the Tall Ships action, too.
Red Owl Tavern
(433 Chestnut St.)
From Thursday, June 25 through Sunday, June 28, the restaurant's bar will serve a nautically inspired cocktail called the Dreadnought. The drink includes El Dorado Demerara rum, allspice dram, house made tiki bitters, and orgreat syrup. Hours are Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
(48 S. 2nd St.)
Sassafras will create a tropical sailors punch from Thursday, June 25 through Sunday, June 28, which will include white wine, white rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, coconut water, passion fruit juice, lemon juice, lime juice mixed with fresh cut fruit topped off with a hibiscus simple syrup. Hours are Thursday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 a.m.
Cooper River Distillers
(34 N. 4th St., Camden)
If you're on the Jersey side of the Delaware River, this local distillery will offer free tours from Thursday, June 25 through Sunday, June 28 from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and from noon until 8 p.m. on Friday. From Thursday through Saturday, enjoy food fare from Black Eyed Susan's food truck while sipping on house-made cocktails.
PHS South Street Pop-Up Beer Garden
(1438 South St.)
From Thursday, June 25 through Sunday, June 28, Barren Hill Tavern and Brewery, beverage partner of the South Street Garden, presents Drinking with the Captains: a Tall Ship Celebration. The four-day special will feature beers from Captain Lawrence and cocktails made with Captain Morgan. Hours are Thursday, noon to 10 p.m.; Friday, noon to midnight; Saturday, 2 p.m. to midnight; and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
(344 South St.)
With a purchase of a burger and fries, each order will receive a free rubber duck, just not the same size as the one at the festival. The deal is offered on Thursday, June 25 through Sunday, June 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
The Spirit of Philadelphia
(123 Chestnut St., #402)
On Saturday, June 27, catch the fireworks show, a close-up look at the Tall Ships, and a buffet meal during this cruise from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. If fireworks don't appeal to you, Spirit offers cruises with an exclusive look at the festival throughout Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28.
The Olde Bar
(125 Walnut St.)
For a seafood feast: The Olde Bar will offer a clambake brunch on Sunday, June 28. From noon to 3 p.m., entry gets you numerous fishy selections such as cherrystone clams, Cape Cod mussels, grilled shrimp and corn, and sides including potato salad, pasta salad, grilled vegetables, and saffron paella.
Ships will be docked along the waterfront along Penn's Landing and the Camden waterfront. Entrances are located at the Independence Seaport Museum (211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.) and Chestnut Street in Philadelphia and Market Street, near the Adventure Aquarium (1 Riverside Dr., Camden) and Martin Luther King Blvd. in Camden.
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 25
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, June 26
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 27
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 28
To get into the festival area, take tours, and sail on the ships and partake in the revelry, you'll have to purchase tickets.
The RiverLink Ferry runs between Camden and Philadelphia and tickets are included in your Tall Ships Festival ticket purchase, so there's no excuse not to see what the other side of the river has to offer.
For more Things to Do, check out our calendar for the most up-to-date happenings.