On September 10, 1813, spectators on the shores of Lake Erie could hardly make out the warring ships, enveloped in billowing smoke. But in a little more than three hours, U.S. Navy Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry and his nine small ships helped defeat the British and signaled a turning point in the War of 1812.
Setting off the final shot himself, Perry orchestrated an extremely important naval campaign that helped boost the morale of American troops and allowed them to retake much of the Michigan Territory lost.
In a famous message to Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison, Perry wrote: “Dear Gen’l: We have met the enemy, and they are ours, two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem. O.H. Perry.”
Designed to honor the contributions of Erie to Commodore Perry and Perry’s contributions to Erie, the 18-monthlong Perry 200 Commemoration — complete with educational programs, tours and special events — will culminate September 5-10.
Join the festivities at Erie’s Tall Ships Festival, the largest gathering of tall ships the city has ever seen. The historical maritime festival will also help raise money for the Flagship Niagara. Spectators can enjoy a parade of sails, ship tours, demonstrations, entertainment, children’s activities, craft vendors, food and more.
Continue the celebration on September 8 with the grand finale of Perry 200: The Erie Philharmonic Summer Pops will perform Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and will give way to the lighting of a ceremonial torch atop the Perry Monument — signifying the Eternal Flame. The torch will be used to light a mortar and propel it across Presque Isle Bay, followed by a fireworks display.