There’s a lot going on along the Erie waterfront this summer.
Concerts, festivals, fireworks and more will be showcased at or near Almost Isle Bay in the coming months for residents and tourists alike.
While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the things happening (or in the case of the Bayside Water Taxi, not happening) in or near the bay this summer .
ErieBank 8 Great Tuesdays
The Port Authority of Erie-Western Pennsylvania last week announced its roster of performers for Liberty Park’s popular Highmark Amphitheater summer concert series. The eight-week series begins July 5 and runs for eight consecutive Tuesdays until August 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
8 Great Tuesdays:Lineup announced for the Summer Concert Series
Here is the schedule:
- July 5: Erie All Stars.
- July 12: Zac Brown Tribute Band. Opening: Reignmaker.
- July 19: King Solomon Hicks. Opening: The Pierce Dipner Band.
- July 26: Concrete castles. Opening: the Polkamaniacs, Patrick Lah.
- August 2: City pants. Opening: Les Probables.
- August 9: Latin Fusion.
- August 16: Buffalo Rose. Opening: the Ron Yarosz Power Organ Trio.
- August 23: Bruce in the United States Opening: Jack Stevenson & the Buried Treasure Band.
The authority oversees the concert series, which also includes many local vendors. The free concerts are sponsored by ErieBank.
The Port Authority canceled 8 Big Tuesdays in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but concerts returned to the West Erie waterfront in 2021.
More information: porterie.org/8greattuesdays.
Lights on Lake Erie
The City of Erie, in conjunction with Mercyhurst University, is once again bringing the boom back to the Erie waterfront.
The annual fireworks display will return to Dobbins Landing on July 3, a day before the July 4 holiday.
They are back:Bayfront Fireworks, CelebrateErie back this summer
The fireworks, launched from the Bicentennial Tower at Dobbins Landing, can be seen at various locations along the bay.
“This year’s exhibit is sure to be the biggest and most spectacular we’ve ever seen,” Erie Mayor Joe Schamberr said at a March 24 news conference.
Lights Over Lake Erie began in 2018. Pyrotecnico Fireworks of New Castle will present the 15-minute show.
The event has been postponed in 2020 until Labor Day weekend due to COVID-19 concerns. The bayfront fireworks took place in 2021.
For more information: http://mercihurst.edu/lole.
Beer on the Bay
See you at Liberty Park on July 23 in two sessions: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Plenty of local beers and vendors will be on hand, as well as live entertainment and VIP options with free food and exclusive specialty beers.
Some proceeds from the event benefit the ANNA Refuge.
More information: To purchase tickets, go to eriebrewingco.com/collections/beer-on-the-bay
Discover Almost Isle
The annual event highlights the many offerings of Près Isle State Park. It will start on Monday July 25 and will continue until Sunday July 31.
Organized hikes, archery, pancake breakfasts, live music, a sand sculpture contest, giant bonfire and tours of the Près Isle Lighthouse are all part of the fun.
For more information:Discoverpi.com/events/dpi.
Tall Ships Erie
The Flagship Niagara League announced in March that tickets are on sale for Tall Ships Erie 2022.
The festival will run August 25-28 and will include the US Brig Niagara, the Lettie G. Howard and the Pride of Baltimore II, a Baltimore clipper that last sailed in Erie in 2016.
Tall ships:Tickets are now on sale for the Bayfront Festival
Ticket prices range from $10 for a day pass to $199 for a VIP pass. The Flagship Niagara League expects approximately 10 ships to be part of the festival.
The Brig Niagara, which has not sailed for two years because it needed repairs and a US Coast Guard inspection, will sail to six ports of call in the Great Lakes this summer before returning home for the festival.
One-day general admission tickets and weekend passes offer all-day access to festival sites, dockside viewing of all tall ships, access to music and entertainment live, educational seminars, children’s activities, local refreshment vendors and the Maritime Market, according to a press release from the Flagship Niagara League.
Deck tours and day sails for each tall ship are sold separately from passes. Day sails are available for a number of vessels.
More information: Tickets are on sale online at tallshipserie.org/buy-tickets. They can also be purchased at the Erie Maritime Museum Store, 150 E. Front St., which is open Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 833-365-7245 for details.
Erie Bicentennial Tour
Looking for a spectacular aerial view of the Erie waterfront?
The 187-foot-tall Bicentennial Tower may oblige.
Located at the foot of Dobbins Landing, the tower is open to visitors seven days a week from April 1 to September 30, but hours vary. During this period, admission is free on the first Tuesday of each month.
‘HomeRun’:In its first 25 years, the Erie Bicentennial Tower has become a waterfront icon
During May, the tower and its concession will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week; between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $2 for children ages 7-12.
Admission is free for children 6 and under.
The authority reached an operating agreement with local businessman Tim Sedney earlier this year regarding the tower. Sedney said he is also working on plans to bring entertainment to the outdoor space below the tower’s second-story deck, which is currently used for parking.
Those plans have not been finalized, Sedney said.
“There are a lot of permits and things that we have to sort out,” Sedney said.
More information: dobbinslandingerie.com.
Almost Isle Boat Tours plans to once again offer 14-mile, 90-minute narrated boat tours on the open waters of Lake Erie and Almost Isle Bay, highlighting sights such as Erie’s historic lighthouses, Gull Point, the city skyline and the beaches of Près Isle State Park.
For more information: www.piboattours.com.
Bayfront Monday Night Cruise-In: Classic Car Shows at Liberty Park begin May 23 at 5 p.m. at the Erie Bayfront Park ‘n’ Ride parking lot and run through October 3. All makes and models of vehicles are welcome.
Most Monday Night Cruise-in events run from 6-9 p.m. Food trucks and 50/50 designs are also part of the fun.
More information: carcruisefinder.com
No water taxi service
For the third consecutive summer, the Port Authority’s water taxi service will be closed. The authority was unable to find an operator for the service in 2022, Sandberg said.
“We weren’t able to find a private operator to partner with,” Sandberg said. “Part of the reason is a shortage of people with captain’s licenses, which are issued by the (US) Coast Guard.”
The water taxi service typically begins each June and continues through October, transporting people across the bay from Près Isle.
The service started in 2000 as a way for tourists and residents to travel between the city and the peninsula.
The Port Authority owns two water taxis. However, the service last ran in 2019.
The authority’s agreement with the taxi service’s last operator, Près Isle Boat tours, expired that year. The company, owned by Sedney, was not interested in a renewal, Sandberg said.
The water taxi did not operate in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2021, “late state decisions to lift COVID restrictions did not give us an opportunity to seek out another potential operator,” Sandberg said.