L.A.’s MarinaFest thinks outside the buoy with tall ships, pirates, classic cars, live music and craft beer

By Christina Campodonico
From 65-footers to little dinghies, boats of all stripes are on display at the 7th annual L.A.’s MarinaFest in Burton Chace Park this weekend, including a very, very tall one.

The Bill of Rights, a working replica of a 19th century gaff-rigged schooner tall ship, visits the marina for dockside tours and sailing excursions starting Saturday. But be warned, “pirateers” will be roaming the docks making mischief and fun, says MarinaFest co-organizer Carly Saltzman.

“There’ll be cannons and black powder, and it’s really festive,” says Saltzman.

The Bill of Rights embarks out into the harbor at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Be there 30 minutes before departure to prepare your sea legs. Tickets to ride are $50 at the door … er, dock … but only $35 if booked in advance online.

Children under 12 are free when accompanied by a paying adult. But if you’re planning to bring the kids, Saltzman advises calling ahead to reserve a life vest, as supplies are limited. Half of the proceeds from the tall ship ticket sales go to LifeSail, a non-profit providing STEM and life skills training to at-risk youth.

If you’re more of a landlubber, leave your feet firmly planted on shore and watch the Del Rey Yacht Club’s boat parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday or The South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club’s Snipe Flash Wooden Dingy Regatta later in the day. Sunday, alternatively, features a classic car show.

No party in the park would be complete without vendors (more than 50 are expected) and live music. Local bands including Unkle Monkey, Zerimar and Fritz, and the Masanga Marimba Ensemble provide the weekend’s soundtrack, and they’ll be plenty of grub on shore at various food trucks.

For the 21+ crowd, Barsha Wine & Spirits hosts a wine and beer garden, serving craft beers and fine wines. Kids can stay occupied at the event’s bounce houses.

Saltzman says MarinaFest is like a “hometown fair meets a boat show.” She hopes it will encourage locals and Angelenos far and wide to embrace the recreational opportunities of the marina.

“It’s open to everybody, whether they’ve been on a boat or not. It’s a new future for the marina and for the concept of a boat show as well.”

L.A.’s MarinaFest happens from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. General admission is free, but it’s $5 to get out on the docks and have a closer look at the boats. For pre-sale tall ship tickets ($35), visit marinadelreymarinafest.com.