Columbus replica ship to join Erie Tall Ships Festival – Something good happened in Erie, 6/21/2019

Without further ado, your Idiotville feel-good story of the week:

Have you heard of the “flat earther” movement? It’s a bunch of idiots that have banded together to insist the past 500 years of scientific knowledge regarding the shape of the Earth is wrong. These people really think the Earth is flat, insisting that all of the space travel in human history has been faked as part of some conspiracy. I wonder how many of them use GPS, or DirecTV.

Christopher Columbus got tired of flat Earth nonsense 527 years ago when he decided to take the long way to India for some spices, folklore be damned. He was so tired of hearing about the flat Earth, he would either prove everyone wrong once and for all or sail right over the edge. He did prove everyone wrong, then called Native Americans “Indians” the rest of his life. What a guy.

If flat earthers were right, Christopher Columbus might have inadvertently become the first astronaut.

Why the history lesson? Turns out, an imitation Santa Maria will set sail from the Spanish province of Huelva to join the Tall Ships festival right here in Idiotville! This old vessel is 100 feet long and weighs in at nearly 200 tons, so it should be hard to miss. And, God help us, if it doesn’t stop raining by then we’ll need to be ready for every seaworthy thing we can find and grab onto.

A photo of the replica Santa Maria that will make its way from Spain to Lake Erie for the 2019 Tall Ships festival. | Photo via

I’ve been excited about the return of the Tall Ships for a little while now. Regular readers may recall our feature on the World’s Largest Rubber Duck, which will be coming along with an only slightly less ridiculous Baby Duck this year in addition to the old ships. Don’t forget that we Idiots get to name the baby duck while it’s here. Don’t let that golden opportunity pass you by!

Give me all of it. I love the history lessons, the nostalgia, the engineering, and the pageantry of this event. I love any celebration of how far we’ve come as a tool for understanding where we are. “We,” in this case, refers to the entire human race – Columbus’ explorations and old naval navigation in general are an essential part of our human story.

It’s also a great showcase for our hometown. How many kids grew up with, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” stuck in their heads? How many had “the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria” drilled into them? Now how many can actually see a piece of that story (fine, a replica, but still) with their own eyes? Erie kids can.

Ship enthusiasts Dale Doback and Brennan Huff know all about “the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria” as immortalized in their debut single, Boats ‘n Hoes. Rumor has it, they ran the Gilded Lady aground to give it the same fate as Columbus’ Santa Maria.

So when August 22nd rolls around, be ready for some really cool things to float into our harbor. Buy a ticket, climb aboard, and pretend you own it like Dale and Brennan from Step Brothers. Why not? A commitment from Christopher Columbus’ Spanish vessel is a great get, and definitely something good to happen in Erie.

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