We've known for decades that the Duluth Harbor is a pretty cool place. I remember as a young scoundrel, my parents would take me down to see the giant iron ore ships. For a wee lad who was afraid of the water (can't swim) and afraid of heights (can't fall slow) it was a nerve wracking experience and a huge curiosity all at the same time. I wondered (and still can't be convinced) 'How do giant metal ships loaded down with half a million tons of iron rock stay afloat?

It's much easier for me to come to grips with ship physics when they're made of wood. That's why I'm excited for the return of the tall ships to Duluth.

July 25th-27th, 8 tall masted ships, right out of Pirates of the Caribbean, will arrive in Port au Duluth. They're expecting at least a quarter million spectators to the event. It's also attracting national attention, CNN has already done a segment on the event.

Tickets for rides on the ship went on sale back in April, but you can still pick up a few tickets online, or by phone at (877) 4FLY-TIX (435-9849).

A four-day ship tour pass sells for $17 and also provides access to the festival grounds and activities. A single-day ship tour pass will cost $6. Children ages 4 and younger will be offered free admission.

Tickets for the opening Parade of Sail event on July 25 sell for $150 each. Ticket-holders will be able to sail into the harbor aboard a tall ship, passing beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge. Tickets for daytime sailing excursions, available on three of the ships; the Privateer Lynx, the S/V Denis Sullivan and the Schooner Hindu are $95 apiece.

Information about the availability of lodging in Duluth during the event is available on Visit Duluth’s website.

You can see an awesome gallery from previous events at Oakley Originals Flickr pages.