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Tall ships wow crowd of thousands in Duluth

FILE - In a July 16, 2011 file photo The Pride of Balitmore II and the U.S. Brig Niagara pass each other near the Aerial Lift Bridge in the Duluth, MInn., harbor. The city of Duluth is expecting big crowds for this week’s tall ships festival that starts on Thursday, July 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Clint Austin, Duluth News Tribune, file)

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Thousands of people turned out in Duluth to watch majestic tall ships sweep in under the Aerial Lift Bridge.

The fleet entered Duluth Thursday in a Grand Parade of Sail to kick off this week's tall ships festival.

Visitors were amazed by the complexity of operating the historic re-creations.

Tom Terrill tells WDIO-TV the sight of a big ship — with all its ropes and sails — was "just overwhelming."

The city of Duluth expects big crowds for the festival. The festival is expected to generate as much as $15 million for the Duluth economy and draw at least 250,000 visitors. More than 25 tall ships are taking part in a tour of 22 Great Lakes ports.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.