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GUEST,Chicken Charlie Tall Ships Parade/Festival, pro/con??? (15) RE: Tall Ships Parade/Festival, pro/con??? 05 Mar 08

My group played dockside in San Francisco, Long Beach and San Diego when the Tall Ships made that tour as part of the California "Sesquicentennial" celebration in 2000. (We were doing period stuff, as much 1850's-ish as possible. Nuff about that; on to the question.)

Yes, access is a b----. I remember that Frisco (I lived there; I'm entitled to call it that) was particularly bad because of the tide rise. Saturday wasn't bad but when we showed up on Sunday morning the tide had come in. We were dockside, as I say, but the caterers & such had a really interesting time getting all their equipment up the gangplanks and one older visitor, rather on the heavy side, needed a lot of help to get aboard.

In San Francisco, these ships used the regular commercial wharves, so they were separated from each other either by the intervening warehouse or a substantial bit of open water; it didn't much matter what was going on on the next ship. Long Beach, where we were was more of a yatch harbor with ships in pairs on rather narrow piers. There it did matter what the neighbors were doing. We were asked to stop playing for a while so the neighboring ship could hold their, "We'd like to thank all the little people" guffah, but that was OK too. San Diego had everybody spaced out along the sea wall, with no piers involved. That worked OK too.

The only other problem was the sun, as this was pretty much midsummer. I guess anybody going to something like that should think about hats and/or sunblock. (The advantage of being in Victorian clothing was we didn't have that much skin to burn.) I think the event planners must have felt the same. At San Diego there were a few pop-ups; I can't remember whose they were but I remember we managed to crash their party during lunch. Long Beach and Frisco made no provision at all, as I remember. We just huddled up to the side of the warehouse and waited for afternoon shadows to lengthen.

Don't know how helpful this is, but anyway, the public seemed to think long lines and awkward boarding at times were worth it. The sponsors of "our" ship were glad they had booked us to play--it helped the folks in the lines pass the time, and some of them stuck around afterwards just to hear more, so I believe it really did help. What else can I tell you?

Chicken Charlie

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