NORFOLK -- The world is coming to Norfolk for 12 days in June.

Dozens of tall ships from across the globe will be docked on the downtown waterfront for OpSail 2012.

In 2000, when the last OpSail took place, an estimated two million people generated more than $21 million in revenue, filling up hotels, restaurants and other business.

It's a big undertaking with a big payoff.

'To make something like this happen, we have to have portable barges as docking locations for the ships. hat's the biggest piece of this, special pier arrangements have to be made, pilings have to be put in, we had to dredge out some sections of the waterfront, dig out things that may have fallen to the bottom so the ships could get in,' explains Karen Scherberger with Norfolk Festevents.

The celebration will coincide with the annual Harborfest, which always has large crowds packing Town Point Park. Norfolk officials have done a lot to make getting to the fun as painless as possible.

'We've got plenty of parking spaces, more than 19,000 parking spaces, we've got our lots open, garages, we've got parking near the light rail stations, we're going to have trains running frequently, ferries running frequently,' says spokewoman Lori Crouch.

OpSail and the 1812 commemoration events - marking the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner -- are designed to promote goodwill among nations, inspire patriotism and foster interest in American maritime history and heritage, while creating unique educational opportunities for young and old alike and bringing economic and social benefit to our communities.

It begins June 1 and ends June 12.

WVEC-TV is a proud sponsor of OpSail. Watch for live coverage throughout the festival.

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