OCEANSIDE — Three tall ships sailed into Oceanside Harbor for the fourth annual Tall Ships Festival on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8. “People of all ages are here for family time together,” Liz Rhea, event coordinator, said.
The Lynx, Californian and Amazing Grace that sailed into port are modeled after 1800s schooners with the magnificent sails and rigging of long ago.
The tall ships remained dockside for part of each day and allowed attendees to have an up-close look. Alfe Lara of Oceanside checked out the ships with his sister and 2-year-old nephew. “It gives kids a different impression of boats,” Lara said.
In the afternoon the ships sailed off with passengers on board for gun battles and historical theater performances at sea.
On shore, festival booths were set up by Dolphin Dock with trinkets, nautical information, brightly colored parrots to hold, and pirates and mermaids to meet.
Pirate tunes were played by the Doxie Chicks. “The Doxie Chicks are quite well-known in the pirate world,” Rhea said.
Mister Mac, a 6-foot-6 pirate with a shaved head, helped book the Doxie Chicks and round up dozens of the pirates for the festival. “We meet each other at events, and develop social networks on MySpace and Facebook,” Mac said. “I put out the word and in less than a day they said ‘We’ll come.’”
For most pirate performers, the Tall Ships Festival is all about the kids. “It’s about making it something fun for the kids,” Mac said.
One “kid’s favorite” at the festival was meeting the mermaids. Sarah Gregor, Jayden Tabor and Anna Gregor, of Lakeside, dressed in mermaid tails, aqua blue tops, shell necklaces and glitter to be mermaids at the event. “Kids were convinced they saw a real mermaid,” Mac said.
The fishlike mermaid tails were made by Thom Shouse, who is known as the “tail man” of Hollywood. Shouse designed the mermaid tail for Daryl Hannah in the movie “Splash,” and has fitted numerous movie actors with tails. Mermaid tails are handmade by Shouse and specifically constructed for breathability on land or functional movement in the water. Shouse also trains actors to swim in the tails. “They are so lifelike they’re popular with manatees and dolphins in the water who will swim right up next to them,” Shouse said.
On land the tails are a hit, too, as evidenced by the looks on the children’s faces, Shouse said.