She’s 75 and the celebration just got started

The Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin (Photo courtesy of Nauticus)
The Nauticus and Battleship Wisconsin (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Nauticus)

NORFOLK — The Battleship Wisconsin, moored at Nauticus, is celebrating her 75th year in 2019 with “Their Stories. Our History. A Year-Long Celebration,” a series of engaging events that pay tribute to the brave men who served aboard the ship.

The Wisconsin was the largest and last battleship built by the Navy. She earned six battle stars for service in WWII, the Korean Conflict and the Persian Gulf War, and was once home to nearly 3,000 men.  Since arriving in Norfolk in 2000, the Wisconsin has become an integral and iconic part of the city’s landscape, according to Nauticus.

“The Battleship Wisconsin is a national treasure,” said Stephen E. Kirkland, executive director of Nauticus.  “It’s Nauticus’ extraordinary privilege to be the steward of the ship, but it belongs to the great country for which it served for so many years.”

In addition to a special ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the Wisconsin’s commissioning that took place April 16 – the official anniversary of the Wisconsin’s commissioning in 1944 – the following anniversary events will take place in 2019.

Unless otherwise noted, all are included in regular Nauticus admission.

  • May 11 : 6th Annual Frisky on the WISKY. This popular event on the ship’s fantail benefits Sail Nauticus  Academy, an afterschool program for underserved youth run by Sail Nauticus. Tastings from local restaurants, live music and specialty drinks. Details are at sailnauticus.org.
  • May 18 & 19: 5th Anniversary Celebration and Grand Opening of New Spaces.  The ship’s medical area, laundry, Chief’s mess and famous “Broadway” sections are among the areas that will open to the public for the first time—doubling the explorable space on the Battleship.  An official line-cutting is at 11 a.m. on May 18. Enjoy free refreshments, hands on crafts, live entertainment a sneak peek at Hurrah Player’s Dames at Sea, plus, meet Wisconsin veterans who served aboard the ship. Daily admission is $7.50.
  • June 7-9: Harborfest Celebration. The Wisconsin will be spotlighted during America’s largest and longest-running, free maritime festival.
  • July 19-21, July 26-28:Dames at Sea. The Hurrah Players will present Dames at Sea, a 40s-style musical, on the ship’s fantail. Purchase tickets at hurrahplayers.com.
  • Sept. 7:  Steel Beach Barbecue Classic.  This one-of-a-kind event will feature tastings from local barbecue restaurants, craft beer/wine, live music and entertainment. Proceeds support the Wisconsin’s ongoing restoration, preservation and educational programs. Tickets go on sale June 1 at Nauticus.org.

For more information about the 75th anniversary events, visit battleship75.org or call 757-664-1000.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.