07/06/06 — A great show: America Sails ’06 spectacular event

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A great show: America Sails ’06 spectacular event

It began with booming cannon fire heralding the arrival of a fleet of tall ships — led, appropriately, by the Meka II.

It ended with what must have been the most spectacular fireworks display in the history of the central North Carolina coast.

From Captain Horatio Sinbad who brought the Pepsi America Sails 2006 to North Carolina, to the youngest officers directing boat and highway traffic, all deserve great credit for a fine performance.

Complaints? Of course there were some — perhaps mostly about long lines waiting in hot, humid weather to get aboard ships open to the public.

But planning and organization of the five-day event obviously had been thorough with something for everyone regardless of age.

There were parades, exhibits, demonstrations, concessions of all kinds, live music with big name talent, an encampment of “pirates,” and mock trials in the old Carteret County Court House.

Pirates were everywhere — and of all ages.

Never before had there been so many people on the streets, sidewalks and lawns of old Beaufort. And never had there been more boats on the waterways around Beaufort and Morehead City.

On the day the tall ships arrived, private watercraft and tour boats carpeted the waters of the harbor from the Beaufort Inlet entrance all the way to the Turning Basin at the State Port and on into Taylor’s Creek and Gallant’s Channel.

And their good behavior was assured by patrolling boats from the Coast Guard, the Division of Marine Fisheries, the Wildlife Resources Commission, Carteret County Law Enforcement and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The streets and sidewalks were crowded with thousands of pedestrians, many coming from designated parking lots on the outskirts of the towns by free bus services.

Town, county and state police agencies were augmented by special forces recruited from a wide area, including nearby military bases.

The spectacular Fourth of July fireworks finale was visible from Harker’s Island to beyond Atlantic Beach. Planned displays of pyrotechnics were supplemented by colorful eruptions from private lawns, piers and Outer Banks beaches.

At this writing, the day after the five-day extravaganza, there had been no reports of serious accidents or incidents.

From all appearances, the aftermath has been marked by pride — and perhaps exhaustion.

Congratulations and expressions of appreciation are due all who had a part. And that includes the thousands who came to enjoy it.

Published in Editorials on July 6, 2006 11:14 AM