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August 31, 2000

Governor Announces Grant for Navy Pier to Host Tall Ships

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that a $300,000 grant has been awarded to Navy Pier, allowing the lakefront facility to host a group of 10 to 12 Tall Ships over the Labor Day weekend in 2000.

"Tourism is one of Illinois' most important industries," Gov. Ryan said. "Navy Pier is one of the premier tourism attractions in the country. This grant will enhance Navy Pier's reputation as a world-class destination by bringing many magnificent ships to its docks."

The grant was awarded through the Department of Commerce and Community Affair's (DCCA) Tourism Private Sector Grant Program. The program provides public matching funds that are used by the private sector to attract high-profile international and national sporting events, trade shows and conventions.

"The Tourism Private Sector Grant Program is a great illustration of how much can be accomplished when government and the private sector work together for a common purpose," DCCA Director Pam McDonough said. "This program has been one of our most successful projects, helping Illinois land several prestigious events and conventions, including World Cup Soccer and the 1996 Democratic Convention."

The Tall Ships, high-masted boats between 125 and 225 feet in length, will be at Navy Pier between August 31 and September 5, 2000.

On August 29, a newly-built Irish tall ship named the Jeanie Johnston will be the first to arrive in Chicago for a 10-day stay, celebrating the ship's maiden voyage from Ireland to Chicago.

On August 31, 10 to 12 other Tall Ships from ports around the world will join the Jeanie Johnston in a Parade of Sails for a week-long festival including dockside viewing, lakefront parades and maritime simulations-complete with booming cannons.

"The gathering of Tall Ships at Navy Pier will be a memorable way to salute the past while celebrating the new millennium," said Scott R. Fawell, CEO of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. "Thanks to the State's vision and generosity, local residents and visitors from all over will have the opportunity to reach out and touch some of the world's most magnificent sailing vessels, each with a unique place in maritime history."


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