NORFOLK -- It's a big weekend on the downtown Norfolk waterfront with Friday's Parade of Sail officially kicking of Harborfest.
The annual festival is even bigger this year with OpSail 2012 Virginia, a celebration of 200 years of U.S. maritime history.
The ships began arriving in view of downtown around 12:20 p.m. Once the ships are docked, many will be open for tour.
Thousands of people lined both sides of the Elizabeth River to get a glimpse of the tall ships under sail. Many were out early to get close to the water's edge for an unobstructed view.
Festival-goers will have lots to do and see all weekend - free ships tours, concerts, plenty of food when they get hungry. Fireworks will go off from three barges on Saturday night and the display should be visible 3.5 miles along the festival waterfront.