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13News Now Vault: USS Wisconsin then and now

In December of 2000, the battleship would find a new home, and a new purpose in downtown Norfolk.

NORFOLK, Va. — The year was 1943.

Hundreds came out to the Philadelphia Naval Yard for the launch of USS Wisconsin.

The battleship was part of the United States’ response to the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor just two years earlier.

Armed with 16-inch guns that could hit targets more than 20 miles away, it was one of the largest and last battleships ever built.

In December of 2000, the battleship would find a new home, and a new purpose in downtown Norfolk.

Hundreds would come out again, to see her pull into berth next to Nauticus.

After three wars, USS Wisconsin, now decommissioned for its second time, was ready to serve the community as a showpiece at the maritime museum.

Today, the battleship Wisconsin still stands tall as an imposing but welcoming, presence on the Norfolk waterfront.

The ship is currently decorated with over 650,000-holiday lights for WinterFest on the Wisconsin.

Anyone who wants to attend the WinterFest event will have until Jan. 2, 2022, to go. For more information on general admission prices, click here.

“The community really embraced WinterFest last year,” said Stephen E. Kirkland, Nauticus’ executive director. “Because of the overwhelming response, we’ve been planning for this season since January and the formula is simple. More lights and more nights!”

Debuting in 2020 as a safe, outdoor holiday experience, each night sold out and over 31,000 guests enjoyed the experience.

Support for WinterFest on the Wisconsin directly benefits the Nauticus Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Funding provides interpretation and restoration of the Battleship Wisconsin and allows Nauticus to open new onboard spaces and experiential learning opportunities for students, families and visitors.

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