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New York & New Jersey to Host the Centerpiece of America’s 250th Anniversary, July 3-8, 2026

Largest-Ever Flotilla of Tall Ships, Naval Vessels, and more to Cap the Nation’s Semiquincentennial Celebration


NEW YORK, NY – March 20, 2024 – Representatives of Sail4th 250, its partners, and public officials today revealed plans for New York and New Jersey to host the capstone events marking the 250th anniversary of America’s independence. From July 3-8, 2026, millions will witness the largest-ever international flotilla of tall ships and other vessels sailing into the Port of New York and New Jersey.

 

This once-in-a-generation public celebration will include an estimated:

 

●  Vessels from 30+ nations (See link here.)

●  30 Class A Tall Ships

●  30 Class B Tall Ships

●  Navy, Coast Guard, Government, and International vessels.

●  10,000 uniformed sailors

 

The six-day public celebration has support from The State of New York, the State of New Jersey, the City of New York, the N.Y. State Historian, NYC Tourism + Conventions, Federal Hall, the National Parks Conservancy of New York Harbor, the South Street Seaport Museum, and more.

 

In February of 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the “New York State 250th Commemoration Act,” co-sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer and Assembly Member Carrie Woerner. It established a state commission to facilitate the planning and development of the commemoration of the 250th anniversary in New York State and to integrate into the growing national plans for America's 250th.

Local businesses and cultural institutions will also join in the festivities, which will feature a massive fireworks display, food festivals, a special Fleet Week, and an International Naval Review attended by government dignitaries.

 

Here’s what government and civic leaders have to say:

 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy:

“This will be an extraordinary display of pride and international goodwill, set against the backdrop of what is arguably the most iconic symbol of our American ideals. New Jersey looks forward to joining our neighbors on the other side of the Hudson to welcome vessels and visitors from around the globe for what is sure to be an unforgettable celebration of our nation’s birthright and the beacon of hope that has inspired the world.”

 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams:

“There is only one natural place to host the biggest birthday party in American history and that is right here in the greatest city in the world. On the anniversary of our nation’s 250th birth, New Yorkers will enjoy the sight of majestic fleets from around the world coming to our shores. Thank you to Sail4th 250 for organizing this parade of awe-inspiring vessels along our waterfront. Happy Birthday, America!”

 

N.Y. State Senator Shelley B. Mayer, sponsor of the 250th Commemoration Act:

“I am thrilled that Sail4th 250 will be hosting this premier event in NY harbor in 2026. The tall ships are a fitting reminder of the remarkable history of our independence, and a call to learn about and honor America’s birthday. This celebration will help energize a new generation to understand the story of America and to honor the sacrifice made by the countless Americans who made our founding possible.”

 

Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation:   

“New York State is honored to play such an important role in our nation’s historic milestone. We expect New Yorkers from both upstate and downstate to witness and participate in these anniversary events.”  

 

Andrew Kimball, New York City Economic Development (NYCEDC) President & CEO:

“New York City is the perfect backdrop for the historic Sail 4th 250 celebration. We look forward to welcoming 80 vessels from across the world to our ports and seeing this event bring together visitors and the local community and support small businesses across the five boroughs.”

  

NYC Tourism + Conventions President and CEO Fred Dixon:

“As the world’s biggest stage, New York City has a long tradition as the place where history is made. It is thrilling that on the occasion of our country’s semiquincentennial, NYC will do it once again as we host the largest-ever flotilla of tall ships for Sail 4th 250 drawing the attention of millions around the world and attracting visitors to the five boroughs for this momentous occasion.”

 

Chris O’Brien, president of Sail4th 250:

“As a sea-faring nation, we celebrate the brotherhood and sisterhood of the sea. The Tall Ships represent a common bond among peoples of all nations. The eyes of the world will be on the Port of New York and New Jersey in a positive way as we mark our nation’s 250th Anniversary, and the spirit of democracy itself.”

 

The historic commemoration will offer an extraordinary platform to educate and engage communities by showcasing the spirit of international cooperation that has long been a hallmark of maritime tradition. It is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact for the NY/NJ region and leave lasting memories for a whole new generation.

 

It will be 26 years since the last flotilla of tall ships visited the region for Independence Day and 50 since America’s bicentennial. The ships will dock throughout the Port of NY & NJ and will be open for four days of free public visitation. Sail4th 250‘s mission is to create a nautical spectacle worthy of the moment that inspires and unites Americans and foreign audiences with stories and imagery that resonate from our nation’s history.

 

Why the Port of New York and New Jersey? The region’s prosperity is due in good part to its protected harbor. The Hudson River was a strategic stronghold throughout the American Revolution when the region was threatened by the largest armada of warships the world would see until D-Day. Millions of immigrants passed through Ellis Island and the South Street Seaport drawn by the beacon of opportunity America offered.

 

A video and select images are accessible here: Sail4th 250 Assets.

 


About Sail4th 250

Sail4th 250 is a 501 (c)3 not-for-profit organization founded in 2020. It is the successor organization to Operation Sail, Inc., which organized the previous major tall ship events in the Port of New York and New Jersey in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, 2000, and 2012. Over the history of these American milestone events, the NY/NJ region has hosted more than 360 international tall ships, gray hull ships, and countless other vessels of interest throughout the region.  Sail4th 250 is developing programs that provide economic development, cultural enrichment, and educational programming for citizens, businesses, and visitors throughout the region.  For more information, please visit: Sail4th 250.

 

About Sail250

Sail250 is a multi-state consortium of five host ports including New Orleans, Norfolk, Baltimore, the Port of New York and New Jersey, and Boston. Sail250® is a global gathering of tall ships to celebrate the 250th birthday of the United States. At each port visit the public will be able to interact with the crews, tour the ships, and participate in ceremonies.


About the Sail4th 250 Brand

The dramatic brand identity of Sail4th 250 was created by award-winning Copeland Design, the designer of the 1996 Summer Olympics logo.  The logo intertwines the Statue of Liberty and the Stars & Stripes flag with a maritime flourish representing the waves and wind of time.  The name is a double entendre that pays tribute to American independence celebrated annually on July 4th and salutes those navigating the waters ahead for a better, more inclusive future for all citizens.


Other marketing partners include FishBait Solution and Lynch Pinnacle, which are working with Sail4th 250 to secure sponsors and philanthropic support.  Eight Founding Partner-level sponsorships will be offered along with multiple supporting partners ensuring an unforgettable experience for all audiences.


Organizers are developing a range of programs that provide economic development, cultural enrichment, and educational programming for citizens, businesses, and visitors throughout the region.


Press inquiries, please contact:


Peter Himler

Flatiron Communications LLC (for Sail4th 250)

(m) 516-729-6461

or

Erin Mahoney

Flatiron Communications LLC

(m) 917-213-2935

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