This post is written by Linda Ketcham, Executive Director of Columbus Santa Maria, Inc.
In 1991, Columbus commemorated the 500-year celebration of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage by commissioning a full size replica of his flagship to serve as a history museum and a flagship for the city.
The Santa Maria was built from plans given to the city from the kingdom of Spain. She was constructed in Albany, New York, cut in half and trucked to Columbus, where she was set on the riverbank beside Veteran’s Memorial. Rejoined and rigged, she sailed from the west side of the Scioto River to her permanent mooring at Battelle Riverfront Park and christened on Columbus Day, 1991.
The ship is owned by the City of Columbus and operated by Columbus Santa Maria Inc. She attracts 16,000-18,000 visitors annually. Besides 45 minute tours of the ship, there are numerous events held every year including the Gospel Sail-A-Bration, RiverJam, Dueling at the Dock (an epee fencing tournament) and Talk like a Pirate Weekend. The ship is available for rentals, overnight educational programming, day camps and pirate birthday parties for kids. The season ends with the Haunted Ship fundraiser on October 27, 28 and 29.
This year marks the Santa Maria’s 20th anniversary as the city’s flagship. A dockside celebration on Friday Oct. 7 from 1-2 p.m. will feature Johnny DiLoretto from Fox 28’s Good Day Columbus as emcee and speakers from Experience Columbus and the Columbus Italian Festival. Columbus State Community College’s Brass Ensemble and the Columbus State Gospel Choir will entertain and things will conclude with a performance of sea shanties from the Hard Tackers. Everything’s free.
The ship is located at 25 Marconi Blvd. in Battelle Riverfront Park in downtown Columbus. Come join the celebration!