Air displays from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, public tours of nearly a dozen U.S., Canadian and British ships and a weekend festival at the Inner Harbor highlight plans for October’s Maryland Fleet Week & Air Show Baltimore.
Described as a “weeklong celebration of the rich maritime traditions of the Chesapeake Bay and the contributions of Marylanders to the defense of the nation,” the festivities will include components at the Inner Harbor, Locust Point and Fells Point, as well as Martin State Airport in Middle River.
Details of the week-long celebration, set for Oct. 3-9, were officially announced during an Inner Harbor media event Tuesday morning, with city, state and U.S. Navy officials on hand.
“These events put the best of Maryland and the best of Baltimore city on full display,” said Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, noting that the last Maryland Fleet Week & Air Show Baltimore, in 2016, attracted some 300,000 visitors and had an economic impact of $30 million.
An equally enthusiastic Mayor Catherine Pugh said she was especially anxious to see ships from three countries “all right here in our Inner Harbor. This is going to be really exciting.”
The celebration will kick off at 4 p.m. on Oct. 3 with a welcoming ceremony at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, Pratt and Light streets. Ships are scheduled to arrive at the Inner Harbor, Fells Point and Locust Point throughout the day. Those ships will be open for public tours from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 4-7. A shuttle will be available to take visitors from the Inner Harbor to Locust Point.
Air Show Baltimore, with flights from the Thunderbirds and other aircraft, is scheduled for 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 6-7. An open house at Martin State Airport, 701 Wilson Point Road, is set for 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on those days, with food, live entertainment and the chance to watch the aircraft as they take off.
The Fleet Week Festival, featuring interactive exhibits, food, music and more, is scheduled for 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 5-6, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Inner Harbor, stretching from the Maryland Science Center to the National Aquarium.
A Fleet Week 5K Race, expected to attract more than 200 sailors and 1,000 local runners, is set for 8 a.m. Oct. 7 in the Inner Harbor area.
Admission to the festivals and tours of the ships are free.
Maryland Fleet Week & Air Show Baltimore is sponsored by Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. Other sponsors include Historic Ships in Baltimore, Maryland Office of Tourism, the U.S., Navy and Marine Corps Team and Visit Baltimore.