Time to Set Sail on Tall Ship Festival

Terry Charles

terry charles | behind the stage | aug. 2018

It's hard to believe, but in less than a year, Nicolet Bank Tall Ships® will return to downtown Green Bay. The three-day festival is scheduled to happen July 26-28, 2019, in the Port of Green Bay at Leicht Memorial Park. This will mark the fifth time the ships will come to Green Bay as part of a major festival.

What a lot of people don't know is that PMI Entertainment Group is the force behind the tall ship festival. Our company does a lot of planning years in advance to pull this off. The ships typically come here only every three years as they go to ports in different parts of the country in the other years.

The event can't be done without the financial support of community partners. Baylake Bank was there from the first festival as the title sponsor and continued through a merger with Nicolet National Bank of Green Bay. In 2016, the festival already had Nicolet's name and next year, in a bit of a name twist, the festival will be called Nicolet Bank Tall Ships®.

Another important fact people don't know is that the ships just don't stop here every three years. We must negotiate with each ship owner to come up with an acceptable fee for the ship's appearance and then sign a contract. The ships are floating businesses or non-profit organizations. Admission fees and community financial support are both needed to help pay for the ships and other entertainment.

We think the tall ship festival is a win-win for everyone. It's great for the Green Bay area because we know it brings in visitors from across Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Think about it. Some of our Midwestern neighbors aren't fortunate enough to be located along the Great Lakes and thus, don't have access to these majestic ships. In 2016, the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau estimated the tall ship festival had an economic impact of $3.6 million.

Throughout the next year we will work closely with many groups, organizations and governmental entities. Nicolet Bank plays a big role as naming sponsor and with activities in Sturgeon Bay either before or after the festival in Green Bay. We work with many departments in the City of Green Bay and with the U.S. Coast Guard. The park must be rented, permits must be granted, the ships need to be signed, and the entertainment must be booked. It will be busy for the next year.

So now with the official announcement behind us, it's on to attracting new community partners to help support us in this venture. We have one ship signed and negotiations will be ongoing with other ships. We're not sure how many ships will be coming yet because that is dependent on what ships are available, their size, and dock space. We believe there will be at least seven ships and we know the World's Largest Rubber Duck will be back. So, this ship is just beginning to sail!

--Banner image courtesy Forsaken Fotos.


Terry Charles is public relations manager for Green Bay-based PMI Entertainment Group. He's all about media relations, publicity and social media for the Resch Center Complex, Meyer Theatre, Green Bay Gamblers Hockey and other events produced by PMI. When not at work, please don't hit him with your car as he runs and bikes around the Green Bay area. You can follow him on Twitter at @TCCharles.

Stay up-to-date

Sign up for a monthly digest of everything new in GB.