The second annual Fells Point Maritime Festival started with a bang yesterday -- literally.
The sound of cannons shook Fells Point as the Lady Maryland and nine other ships fired their guns in salute during a Parade of Sail from Fort McHenry to the Inner Harbor to mark the start of this weekend's festival.
One crew, from the Hermaphrodite Brig the Black Pearl, yelled "Boom!" as they passed by to make up for their lack of cannons.
All the ships are replicas of historic vessels, most having significance to Baltimore or Maryland. The smallest was the Federalist, a tiny ship originally made by a Baltimore craftsman and given to President George Washington on the ratification of the Constitution. It can carry only a few people and from a distance looks like a little tub with sails.
Making a special appearance in the parade was the U.S. Brig Niagara, a replica of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's 19th century warship. This was the Niagara's first East Coast appearance this year.
All of the parade ships are part of the American Sail Training Association Tall Ship Rally, which will sail from Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Newport, R.I.
More ships are expected over the weekend. Some crews will give dockside demonstrations of sailing skills. All ships will be docked in the Fells Point area and will be available for boarding during the festival, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow.
The event: About 15 sailing ships involved in the American Sail Training Association Tall Ship Rally are scheduled to be docked in town today and tomorrow for the second annual Fells Point Maritime Festival, which runs both days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
What to see: The picturesque "Class B" sailing vessels (small to mid-size ships) will be docked at Brown's Wharf and Henderson's Wharf in the Fells Point area, as well as at the Inner Harbor. Some crews will give dockside hands-on demonstrations; all ships can be boarded.
( Where to call: 837-4636.