‘Tiny Tall Ships Festival’ coming to Somerville

Picture Boston’s Tall Ships event — but on a much smaller scale.

Greg Cook, the lead organizer of last year’s “Pity Party” festival in Somerville, where hundreds of people came together to wallow in their own misery, is back with a new celebration — this time with a nautical theme.

Cook is looking for artists, musicians, and performers to participate in the “Tiny Tall Ships Festival” slated for Union Square in May.

The festival will feature miniature ships; hand-made sea monsters, mermaids, icebergs, submarines, and whales; and other floating sculptures that will be arranged in several “kiddie pools” spread out across the square.


There will also be tattoo contests (think Sailor Jerry-style body art), seafood, and a tiny boat-making event on the day of the festival. People can create the small ships and then race them on a course, according to event details. Organizers also plan to have sand-castle building activities for adults and children.

The entire day will be supplemented by what Cook, an artist and freelance writer, describes as “nautical/pirate/mermaid/fishy tunes.”

Cook said he came up with the idea because he has long had a vision to launch a floating-sculpture project.

“It just seemed really New England-y,” he said. “It’s a funny, wondrous little maritime festival, and a play on our marirtime history.”

The “Tiny Tall Ships Festival” is hosted in partnership with the Somerville Arts Council, a department of the city of Somerville.

“Greg brought this idea to us and we really liked it, and we are working with him to make it a really great festival,” said Nina Eichner, special events manager at the arts council.

They are hoping to attract around 1,000 people, she said.

Cook said in a post online Wednesday that this is the last week for people interested in taking part in the event to submit applications and ideas.


The deadline to apply is Saturday, he said.

“We’re seeking your own weird and wonderful proposals on this theme. Surprise us. We love cockamamie ideas,” Cook wrote.

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.