Prohibitive costs and no guarantee on the class of vessels were the reasons provided for the decision when Mayor Phil Mooney was contacted.
“That decision was made last year. We looked at it three times. First with the Yarmouth Industrial Commission when Dave Whiting was still there and he recommended against it because of cost of security and you’re not guaranteed that the tallest of the big ships will come. You might get one of the smaller classes that doesn’t draw the crowds,” he said.
The Yarmouth Waterfront Development Corporation decided against it and the Yarmouth Development Corporation has lost money on the event in the past.
“It’s cost prohibitive,” said Mooney. This will be the first time since 2007 for Shelburne to be a host port for the festival with nine ships expected. The last time there were three in the fleet.
Jerry Locke, director of community and economic development for Shelburne, says there are stories behind “each and every ship.”
“Some of the ships have been here before and some are new,” he said.
Shelburne is the largest outport that the ships will be visiting outside of Halifax.
The ships will be visiting July 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a boarding pass of $5 each day and children 12 and under free.
There are many events planned in Shelburne and surrounding areas throughout the weekend including the Pirate Rendezvous, Harmony Bazaar, waterfront music, food, reenactments and many shore activities.
“Come for the ships and stay for so much more is our motto,” said Locke.
The ships will be porting on both Dock Street wharf and the Shelburne Marine Terminal.
The ships that are to visit include the Amistad, the Lynx, USS Providence, the Pride of Baltimore II, the Harvey Gamage, Roseway, Unicorn and the Tree of Life as well as one yet to be determined tall ship.
Locke anticipates the visit will draw large crowds from all over the south shore and up through Annapolis Valley.
The event, being organized by the Halifax Waterfront Development committee, marks the bicentennial of the war of 1812.
“It is going to be quite a sight to see,” said Locke.