"We are looking forward to having an experience like folks had 150 years ago sailing on the barge in the Great Lakes," said Sam Biutendorp.
The Biutendorps came from Michigan to celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary. They paid nearly $400 to be part of the Parade of Sail opening festivities for the festival, which runs from August 24 to 29.
"I'm just looking forward to seeing the sails go up and feeling the wind pushing it along," said Cheryl Biutendorp.
It's been four years since these ships came to Chicago. This year's lineup includes the HMS Bounty, the ship used in the 1962 film "The Mutiny on the Bounty".
For 8 year old Ibrahim Ahmed, it's a lot to take in, "I've never seen a pirate ship... So this is kind of a neat thing."
More than 20 tall ships- many of them historic- were visible from Museum Campus to North Avenue as the vessels sail into Navy Pier, where they will be docked from August 24 to 29.
Visitors can go board several of the ships, as well as participate in daily sails on five of the vessels. General admission tickets to the festival are $15 for adults and $9 for children, 3-12 years. Tickets to board the open tall ships are $20 for adults and $15 for children, 3-12 years old. Ticket Info
"It is unique this year for many reasons. One, we have an entertainment component to it. We have fireworks every night. There is a nautical stage. There's a war stage. And, of course, there are 20 tall ships from around the world that will be docked exclusively here at Navy Pier," said Delores Robinson, Navy Pier spokesperson.
Ships will be docked in three locations at Navy Pier: Nautical Mile on the north dock, Canada Cove on the NW wall at the front of the pier, and America Alley on the SW wall of the pier.
More than a million people are expected to view, board, and sail on these majestic vessels. But it's not all just for fun.
Tom Kelly is captain of the Inland Seas and hopes to educate visitors about the threat from invasive species, including the Asian Carp.
"We want people to understand there is a lot going on in the lake and (it's) not just a big bowl of water. A whole biological system that's happening that we depend on and want to show people how that works," said Capt. Tom Kelly, Inland Seas.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on August 25-28 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the 29th. The day ends with a fireworks display at Navy Pier at 9 every night.
"We came to see the tall ships. We were here four years ago. We saw them. Eight years ago we saw them out on the point. So it's different this year because they're having a festival event but we are here and we are going to try to go on one. We're so thrilled," said Mavis Streyffeler, Naperville.