Tall Ships outlines public transportation and ticketing

There are two weeks left until Tall Ships arrive in Tacoma and the festival fun begins. As time draws near, people planning to attend festival events and activities also need to plan for transportation and ticket transfers to ensure a headache-free festival experience.

The Tall Ships Tacoma Festival is July 1 through 4 featuring 30 vessels, from the 23-foot Bounty of Krister to the 356-foot Pallada. Ships will be open for viewing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shore activities and entertainment will include a treasure-filled Merchants Market, delicious international foods, beer gardens, boat-building demonstrations and other events along the Thea Foss Waterway.

1. Parking Information

For many, getting to the fun and activities begins at the Tacoma Mall. Visitors can take Pierce Transit to the Tall Ships festival grounds via Pierce Transit express service (route 13) beginning at 8:30 a.m. and running until 9 p.m. July 1 through 3, and 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. July 4 from Tacoma Mall between JC Penney and Sears to South 15th St. and Court A behind the DaVita building in downtown Tacoma. Buses run every 15 minutes. Cost is $2.50 roundtrip (exact change only). Up to four kids ages 13 and under ride free with a fare-paying passenger.

People may also park for free at the Tacoma Dome Station by Freighthouse Square and ride the free Tacoma Link Light Rail to the Washington State History Museum where people may access activities by crossing the Chihuly Bridge of Glass behind the museum. Visitors may also ride the Link near the Tall Ships bus transfer location at S. 15th and Court A stopping at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. A short walk will be required to get to the Pierce Transit transfer location from there. Tacoma Dome parking lots will not be open to Tall Ships Tacoma visitors due to an event occurring at the Tacoma Dome.

A special Fourth of July service will also offer an “All Day Pass” July 4 on the Freedom Express bus to Old Town in Tacoma for the Freedom Fair fireworks display, which begins at 10 p.m. The Freedom Express bus leaves the Tall Ships stop at S. 15th and Court A. Freedom Fair shuttle service will occur every 30 minutes beginning at 8:18 a.m. except during the fireworks display. Freedom Express busses will be available to return all riders to their cars after the fireworks show until the last rider is brought back around 11 p.m. Cost for the Freedom Express Bus is $2.50 and fare is good for unlimited rides between the Tall Ships Tacoma Festival and Freedom Fair. The July Puget Pass or Summer Youth Pass can also be used at no additional cost and a valid transfer is worth $1.25 towards the round trip fare. For information about where to purchase bus passes visit www.piercetransit.org or call (253) 581-8000.

First Student buses will also be available for free allowing visitors to travel along Dock Street between the Museum of Glass and the Dock Street Building during regular festival hours.

2. Ticket Information

Hop off the bus and on deck to view the Tall Ships Tickets and sailing adventures are on sale now.

The Tall Ships Tacoma Festival is free to the public and visitors may view the vessels from the walkways along the Thea Foss Waterway. Passes to board the vessels, or for a closer look, are $10 for one-day access or $25 for four days. Children 10 and under can view or board ships for free with a ticketed adult. Day sails on one of many Tall Ships are available at $50. Cannon Sail adventures are $75 and participation in the June 30 Parade of Sail costs $100. Please be advised that ships will not be wheelchair accessible. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 877.772.5425, online at http://www.tallshipstacoma.com, by stopping in at the Tall Ships Tacoma office, by mailing a check or to 535 Dock Street, Suite 206 Tacoma WA 98402-4630, or by visiting any of the 25 ticket sales locations posted on the Tall Ships Tacoma Web site.

Festival-goers will be required to transfer all Tall Ships tickets into wristbands at any of three ticket trailers along the Thea Foss Waterway before viewing or sails. Ticket trailers can be found at the Thea Foss Esplanade by the Dock Street Marina office building, at the Colonial Food and Produce building at the 15th Street entrance and at the Working Waterfront Museum. Ticket holders must show valid picture I.D. (driver’s license, military I.D., etc.). Ticket trailers are open daily during regular festival hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning July 1.

Tall Ships are traditional sailing vessels. More than 30 vessels, including Tall Ships and other historical boats, will be available for public viewing along the Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma from July 1 through 4, 2005.