The Flagship Niagara is offering a unique opportunity for private events as part of its visit to Alpena on July 20-21. Public dockside tours will be conducted during the day, and the ship also will be available in the evening for private events, according to Deb Pardike, executive director of the Alpena Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"The Niagara is one of the most impressive ships ever to visit Alpena," Pardike said. "At 198 feet long, the ship is majestic and distinctive especially this year, with her ties to the War of 1812."
According to Pardike, the ship's availability in the evenings provides a wonderful and unusual venue for all kinds of events.
"This could be the setting for an extraordinary wedding ceremony or any kind of special event - birthdays, inductions, corporate functions, anniversaries or celebrations of any kind," she said. "Any event held aboard the Niagara will be one that will be noticed, remembered and talked about long after it is over."
The Niagara can host 150 people onboard or up to 300 using the adjacent dockside area for catering.
While Niagara makes Alpena a frequent stop for its onboard student programming, this visit marks the first opportunity for the general public to tour or charter the square rigger for a reception. Niagara is operating as a sailing school vessel, often conducting onboard history or science courses for students. According to Claudia Bankert, Flagship Niagara League trustee, students enjoy visiting Alpena.
"Alpena is an interesting, fun, small town with great hospitality," Bankert said. "A visit to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and interaction with sanctuary staff is part of the student's curriculum and a favorite among the crew."
Hours for public tours have been tentatively set for 10 a.m.-4 p.m., but may be expanded. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children 12 years old and under. The Niagara also will be in port on July 8-9, but will not be accessible to the public at that time, as that visit is devoted to the training course.
The Flagship Niagara was built in 1988 as a reconstruction of the warship aboard which Commander Oliver Hazard Perry won the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
For more information on dockside events, contact Claudia Bankert at the Flagship Niagara League at (440) 241-4914.