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July 28, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2010

Operation Sail 2012 and the United States Navy Announce
Norfolk and the Port of Hampton Roads to Host Star-Spangled Banner and
War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebrations

WASHINGTON, D.C. -Operation Sail, Inc. (OpSail) and the U.S. Navy announce the
participation of five historic U. S. ports in the forthcoming 2012 events that will commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the birth of The Star-Spangled Banner.  The ports include New Orleans, Norfolk/Hampton Roads, Baltimore, and Boston.  Events in 2012 will also include New York City's Fleet Week.
OpSail and the U. S. Navy will bring tall ships, naval vessels, and the Blue Angels flight demonstration team to each port city, beginning in New Orleans in May 2012 and ending in Boston Harbor on July 4, 2012.

Norfolk and the Port of Hampton Roads will host the OpSail flotilla from June 6-11, 2012, in conjunction with Norfolk's annual Harborfest celebration.
 "As home to the largest Naval Base in the world and site where many of the battles of the War of 1812 were fought, Norfolk and the Port of Hampton Roads are particularly honored to host this event that recognizes the history of our U. S. Navy", said Paul D. Fraim, Mayor of Norfolk.  "We understand and appreciate the significance of maritime history and events like OpSail that are tremendous opportunities to educate and enlighten our citizens, especially our youth, about our history and the importance of our military forces."

Jose Fuentes, Chairman of Operation Sail 2012, remarked that "The collaborative effort between OpSail, the U.S. Navy and mayors of each of the port cities will prove fruitful to our overall mission. OpSail 2012 will be yet another extraordinary celebration that our nation can add to its long history of proud American commemorations."

 "Working in conjunction with OpSail enables the U.S. Navy to showcase the men and women who currently serve our country," said Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, Vice Chief of Naval Operations. "By infusing our fleet with the flotilla of tall ships, along with the rich history of the participant cities, we bring America's historic beginnings into the context of a new millennium."

OpSail has hosted five Fourth of July Parades of Sail in New York Harbor. These have taken place in 1964, in commemoration of the World's Fair; in 1976, the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence; in 1986, to mark the centennial of the Statue of Liberty; in 1992, the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's landing in America and on July 4, 2000, in celebration of the new millennium. 

Norfolk has hosted several major tall ship events since 1964. The most recent, Sail Virginia 2007, commemorated the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Landing. OpSail 2000 Virginia, which Norfolk organized on behalf of the port of Hampton Roads, took place in celebration of the new millennium. "OpSail 2000 marked the first occasion that the national organization Operation Sail, Inc., partnered with ports outside New York City," said Karen Scherberger, Executive Director of Norfolk Festevents, the local organizing body for the 2012 event. "It was a tremendous honor to be selected by OpSail, Inc. for the 2000 event and to share the national stage with New York and the other selected ports. To be invited twelve years later by OpSail, Inc., and the U. S. Navy to host the 2012 program reconfirms the Port of Virginia's strength and ability to host such events of national and international significance." 
OpSail events incorporate stops at key historic ports along the east coast to showcase tall ships and warships from around the world.  The OpSail 2012 bicentennial celebration will consist of New Orleans, Norfolk/Hampton Roads, Baltimore, and Boston. The New York event will coincide with Fleet Week. Previous OpSail events contributed to the economy of participating port cities through increased hotel bookings, restaurant reservations, sales and new infrastructure. OpSail events historically attract significant national and international coverage in the media.

About Operation Sail, Inc.
Operation Sail, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 1961 with the endorsement of President John F. Kennedy. Backed by a Joint Congressional Resolution, its mission is to advance sail training and promote goodwill among nations. To date, it has held five international sailing events-in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992 and 2000-each tied to a landmark historical event and each culminating in a traditional Parade of Sail in New York Harbor. For more information, please visit www.opsail.org.

About the United States Navy
The U. S. Navy is the sea-service branch of the U. S. Armed Forces. The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.  The United States Navy - A Global Force For Good, www.navy.mil, www.history.navy.mil  

About Norfolk Festevents, Ltd.
Norfolk Festevents, Ltd. is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to producing city celebrations including premier concerts, festivals, ship visits, and special events for the residents and guests of Hampton Roads.  Celebrating its 28th season, Norfolk Festevents has garnered international acclaim for its outstanding quality of programming.  Norfolk Festevents is the official event marketing and production agency for the City of Norfolk.
Press Contact: Karen Scherberger  
OpSail 2012 Virginia
p: 757.441.2345  e: Scherbergerk@festevents.org
 
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