Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PULL TOGETHER ERIE! Review of the Erie Yacht Club Benefit for Pennsylvania's Flagship Niagara

What a well attended event to benefit the Niagara! I was excitingly surprised to see the local support of the Brig come together at the Erie Yacht Club on Tuesday evening May the 5th. It was very surreal to see that the tall ship had indeed made it's maiden voyage and docked at the club with its beautiful, "Don't Give Up The Ship!" flag blazing wildly in the wind. How many opportunities to you get to see and touch such an icon of beauty? I was blessed to get the chance to view her at this benefit.

Ever since the PA Historical and Museum Commission decided to cut funding for the Niagara sailing program, volunteers, yachtsmen, sailors, citizens, and people of all walks of life have become concerned that the ship will not sail and her demise would be eminent with time. The Erie Yacht Club is the first to come to her side by offering the, "Pull Together Erie!" benefit and live auction for this unique tall ship.

The local TV stations were present for full coverage as well as many locally known political candidates,socialites,doctors,lawyers,businessmen, and the concerned community. We were all enlightened as to the exact problem that is occurring with funding, what has been done and achieved thus far, and notified of future plans to help raise funding for the brig.

The program was supposed to open with remarks by Mayor Joseph Sinnott who conveniently was not able to attend at a last moment's notice. Being very disappointed I am not surprised since the Mayor is the one who has proposed the 170Mill spending through out the city of Erie without one lick of it going toward the ship! For myself, and I am sure others, this is yet another demonstration of his lack of concern for our local icon. (I wish to say more about this but will hold my tongue!)

What did I learn from the benefit and can share with you?
The US Brig Niagara is a coast guard approved Sailing School Vessel! Plans are in place for students to earn school credit while sailing and working the vessel for a two week period of time. (Makes me wish I were in school again!) Of the one million dollar needs of the brig, $800,000.00 is used for the overall maintenance of the vessel itself. It takes about 30 volunteers (NON PAID) to man the crew of the Niagara. The brig brings in 10's of thousands of dollars in revenue when it travels to other ports with 2 hour long lines of people who are excited to board and tour this historical reminder that, "We have met the enemy and they are ours!". **Of the funds collected only $250,000 more is needed to save this ship!**

This remaining portion of funding will hopefully come from corporations, granting institutions, special events, and caring individuals of the Erie community and across the nation.

1) Outright Donations: When making outright donations to the ship they are put to work in preparing the ship as an educational and training platform for the people of Erie, as well as representing our city in both American and foreign ports. Pledges for periods of up to three years are welcome.

Securities are also accepted as donations and can be valuable for tax-planning purposed.

As individuals, outright tax deductible donations can be made. Many local corporations have pledged to match these donations such as PNC, General Electric, Mellon Financial Corporation and Exxon-Mobile.

2)Join the Flagship Niagara League.
3)Donate via Facebook.
4)Purchase "KEEP NIAGARA SAILING" tokens at area businesses for personal use or resale.

Companies can support the ship with outright donations and becoming a corporate member.

To Learn More, PLEASE contact the Flagship Niagara League:
Ms. Julie Wagner
150 East Front Street, Suite 100
Erie, Pennsylvania 16507
#814-452-BRIG (2744) Ext.222

Thank you for all who attended this event and to those who have contributed and who will contribute to this cause in the future. The Erie Yacht Club was able to raise over $30,000 from this event!

Let's keep the cause going and, "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!"
Photos are property of CMS, The US Brig Niagara League, John Baker-ship Photographer, and The Erie Maritime Museum.


Julie B said...

I love tall ships! It would be wonderful to learn how to sail one of them. It is good to know that there are people out there dedicated to saving this piece of the past.

Karen Terry, Artist/Designer said...

How exciting to be able to see the Niagra up close and personal! Beautiful blog...Wishing you much support in keeping this venture alive.

auclairdelalune said...

What an absolutely beautiful ship and program! I hope this group gets the funding and attention it needs!

zJayne said...

What a beautiful piece of history. I remember when the Tall Ships where in Cleveland and we spoke to one crew about this upcoming students to earn school credit while sailing and working vessels... sounded like such a great learning experience.

Pull Together Erie! It's a big Lake and many of us are lucky to be so linked to its history.

tracy said...

Great post Jodes.... Way to go!

Miss Courageous said...

hope the progam gets the funding it needs, the ship is amazing =)

re-maker said...

Keep Niagra sailing... it's a piece of history!

fisheye said...

What a beautiful ship! Good luck to all supporters!

Sara at Soap Rehab said...

Beautiful photos-great program. I haven't been sailing in so it though. Good luck with the cause!

deirdre said...

what a beautiful ship......and how nice to see it in all it's of luck to you all.....and i hope you get the funding needed to keep her going

Paper Squid said...

This ship is absolutely gorgeous. The design and history is just amazing. I truly hope all the funding needed is received. said...

This is important. Here's to bumping it up for Google!

Kelly said...

I hope that you achieve your goal. It seems a crime to lose the Niagara.
Good Luck.

Morgen said...

What a beautiful icon from the past. It would be such a great pity to see it lost. The fact that students can learn to sail this vessel is a priceless treasure to your nation. I hope that the funding comes for this lovely 'Queen'.

BululuStudio said...

what a great story

uncorked said...

wonderful post- thank you so much for all the information and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Wow,she's beautiful! Here's the link

Vivi said...

Wow,she's beautiful! I just did a post to send readers here. Here's the link

Kathleen said...

lovely - the tall ships are so magestic!

BLUEYEDUCKstudios said...

I went to see her in person on Wednesday - they were working on the rigging - we walked right up to her :) !!!


Two ArtisanSisters said...

What a beautiful ship, we sure hope the funding is found to keep her running!
Ruth and Marilyn
Two Artisan Sisters

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