Things to do on Erie’s bayfront this summer? Here’s a list
There’s a lot going on along Erie’s waterfront this summer.
Concerts, festivals, fireworks and a lot more will be featured at or near Presque Isle Bay in the coming months for residents and tourists alike.
While this is not a comprehensive list, here are some of the things happening (or in the case of the bayfront water taxi, not happening) at or near the bay this summer.
ErieBank 8 Great Tuesdays
The Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority announced its lineup of performers last week for the popular summer concert series Liberty Park’s Highmark Amphitheater. The eight-week series begins July 5 and runs for eight consecutive Tuesdays through Aug. 23, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
8 Great Tuesdays:Lineup announced for summer concert series
Here is the lineup:
- 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.
- Aug. 2: The Town Pants. Opening: The Probables.
- Aug. 9: Latin Fusion.
- Aug. 16: Buffalo Rose. Opening: the Ron Yarosz Power Organ Trio.
- Aug. 23: Bruce in the U.S.A. Opening: Jack Stevenson & the Buried Treasure Band.
The authority oversees the concert series, which also features numerous local vendors. The free concerts are sponsored by ErieBank.
The Port Authority canceled 8 Great Tuesdays in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the concerts returned to Erie’s west bayfront in 2021.
More information: porterie.org/8greattuesdays.
Lights Over Lake Erie
The city of Erie, in conjunction with Mercyhurst University, is once again bringing the boom back to Erie’s waterfront.
The annual fireworks display will return to Dobbins Landing on July 3, one day before the July 4 holiday.
The fireworks, launched from the Bicentennial Tower at Dobbins Landing, can be viewed at various points along the bayfront.
“This year’s display is sure to be the biggest and most spectacular we have ever seen,” Erie mayor Joe Schember said during a March 24 news conference.
Lights Over Lake Erie began in 2018. Pyrotecnico Fireworks of New Castle will put on the 15-minute display.
The event was postponed in 2020 until the Labor Day weekend because of COVID-19 concerns. The bayfront fireworks display took place in 2021.
For more information: mercyhurst.edu/lole.
Beer on the Bay
Set for 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 brews and vendors will be on hand, as well as live entertainment and VIP options featuring complimentary food and exclusive specialty brews.
Some proceeds for the event benefit the A.N.N.A. Shelter.
More information: To purchase tickets, go to eriebrewingco.com/collections/beer-on-the-bay
Discover Presque Isle
The annual event highlights Presque Isle State Park’s many offerings. It will begin on Monday, July 25 and continue through Sunday, July 31.
Organized hikes, archery, pancake breakfasts, live music, a sand sculpture competition, a giant bonfire, and Presque Isle Lighthouse tours 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 Aug. 25-28, and include the U.S. 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 now on sale for bayfront festival
Ticket prices range from $10 for a single-day pass to $199 for a VIP pass. The Flagship Niagara League expects about 10 ships will be part of the festival.
The Brig Niagara, which did not sail for two years because it needed repairs and a U.S. Coast Guard inspection, will sail to six ports of call in the Great Lakes this summer before returning home for the festival.
Both single-day general admission tickets and weekend passes offer all-day access to festival sites, dockside viewing of all tall ships, access to live music and entertainment, educational seminars, children’s activities, local refreshment vendors and the Maritime Marketplace, according to a news release from the Flagship Niagara League.
Deck tours and day sails for each tall ship are sold separately from the passes. Day sails are available for a select number of ships.
More information: Tickets are for 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, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 833-365-7245 for additional details.
Erie’s Bicentennial Tower
Looking for a spectacular aerial view of Erie’s waterfront?
The 187-foot-high Bicentennial Tower can oblige.
Located at the foot of Dobbins Landing, the tower is open to visitors seven days a week from April 1 through Sept. 30, but the hours vary. During that time period, admission is free on the first Tuesday of each month.
During May, the tower and its concession stand will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week; between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it’s open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
Tickets are $6 for adults and $2 for children 7 to 12 years old.
Admission is free for children 6 and under.
The authority reached an operations 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 exterior space underneath the tower’s second-floor deck, which is currently used for parking.
Those plans have not been finalized, Sedney said.
“There’s a lot of permitting and things that we have to work out,” Sedney said.
More information: dobbinslandingerie.com.
Presque Isle Boat Tours once again plans to offer 14-mile, 90-minute narrated boat tours onto the open waters of Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay, highlighting sights like Erie’s historic lighthouses, Gull Point, the city’s skyline and the beaches of Presque Isle State Park.
For more information: piboattours.com.
Bayfront Monday Night Cruise-In: Classic car shows at Liberty Park begin on May 23 at 5 p.m. at the Erie Bayfront Park ‘n’ Ride lot and run through Oct. 3. All makes and models of vehicles are welcome.
Most Monday night Cruise-in events run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Food trucks and 50/50 drawings are also part of the fun.
More information: carcruisefinder.com
No water taxi service
For the third straight summer, the Port Authority’s water taxi service will be shuttered. The authority was unable to find an operator for the service in 2022, Sandberg said.
“We have been unable to locate a private operator to partner with,” Sandberg said. “Part of the reason for that is a shortage of individuals who hold a captain’s license, which are issued by the (U.S.) Coast Guard.”
Water taxi service typically begins each June and runs through October, transporting people across Presque Isle Bay.
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 operated in 2019.
The authority’s agreement with the taxi service’s last operator, Presque 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 because of the pandemic. In 2021, “late decisions by the state to lift COVID restrictions did not provide us an opportunity to look for another potential operator,” Sandberg said.