Tacoma named Tall Ships Port of the Year

Tacoma was recently named Port of the Year for its hosting of this summer’s Tall Ships Tacoma Festival in July. This is the second time that Tacoma has received this honor from the American Sail Training Association (ASTA). Tacoma was also named Port of the Year after the 2005 Tall Ships Festival.

To win the award, Tacoma beat larger host cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

“We are excited at winning this award for the second time,” said Stan Selden, Tacoma Tall Ships Organization board member and spokesperson. “We worked so hard to make this event a success, not only for the visiting ships but also for the community, that it is really gratifying to be recognized in this way.”

The Port of the Year Award is awarded to a city that demonstrates significant success in supporting ASTA’s Tall Ships Challenge race. It is based on overall performance of a host city and award criteria include services provided to the ships and crews, community involvement, volunteer participation, and overall operations. A significant portion of the award is based on voting by the captains and crews of the participating ships.

While the 2008 festival resulted in a deficit of roughly $500,000, the award highlights many of the organization’s achievements, including:

— More than $19.2 million in economic impact to the local economy;

— 300,000 visitors to the Foss Waterway;

— More than $1.5 million in permanent improvements to the Foss Waterway;

— More than 2,000 volunteers who donated more than $800,000 worth of time;

“The Tall Ships Tacoma Festival is very important to the community, it is quickly becoming the signature event for the city and we are committed to hosting the festival again in 2011,” Selden said. “Our biggest challenge right now is to raise funds to pay our deficit and begin planning for the next festival.”