Thousands of people gathered along the Kenosha Harbor for a previous Kenosha Days of Discovery Tall Ships Parade. Here, the Nina passes by the crowd.

Fourteen months ago elected officials and community stakeholders came together at the Civil War Museum for a presentation promoting the Tall Ships Festival, heading to Kenosha in 2019.

They heard about “edu-tainment,” the blend of education and entertainment that the Tall Ships bring when they visit throughout the Great Lakes.

It’s unique and family friendly, and it’s one of the things that make the Tall Ships event opening today in Kenosha so special.

Mayor John Antaramian, who worked hard to bring the Tall Ships Festival back, will view with pride today’s “Parade of Sail” and opening festivities of what should be a memorable weekend for Kenoshans.

He’ll especially look for the reaction of young people viewing the ships for the first time. “The looks in the kids’ eyes when they see some of these ships, it’s remarkable,” he said last week.

The mayor said he’s always loved the Tall Ships and he invites residents and visitors alike to take part in the biggest weekend of the summer locally.

Now for the “edu-tainment,” as Patricia Lock, director of special projects for Tall Ships America, refers to it.

The entertainment comes with a festival with bands, vendors and food and drink.

The education comes with the ships docked here — the Picton Castle, Bluenose II, U.S. Brig. Niagara, Pride of Baltimore II, S/V Denis Sullivan, Appledore IV and Kenosha’s own Red Witch.

Visitors with tickets can tour the ships and meet the crews, all along learning their rich history. Sail aways throughout the festival are available with excursion tickets on the Appledore and the Red Witch.

Young people who have signed up will help crew the ships, and learn hands-on. And the Wisconsin Coastal Management and NOAA (National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration) Exploration Station will offer discussions on the Great Lakes throughout the festival.

Kenoshans have waited years to get the Tall Ships back to our beautiful harbor and lakefront. This weekend is to be savored with some of the best weather of the summer.

“It’s become a ‘bucket list’ for a lot of people,” Lock said last year. “We get the kids to get their feet wet; get them on board and think about careers in the coast guard or be Bob Ballard, the (undersea) explorer.”

For all you need to know on the festival visit kenoshatallships.com. For our previous stories on all of the ships and visit kenoshanews.com/tallships.