SeaFair, a 228-foot luxury mega-yacht, is open to the public starting today and kicks off its inaugural season of “Art in the Harbor” at Perry Mill Wharf. The gallery and restaurants will be open from from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through September 5, if the city votes for an extension of the special event license past the July 13 trial approval date.
Hours will be extended until 10 p.m. on July 4 so visitors can watch the fireworks show over the harbor from the sky deck.
Although some local restaurants have expressed concern that the boat would take away customers, Mark Delgiudice, manager of 41 North, which is located directly next to the SeaFair, said it could attract people who might not otherwise come to Newport.
“We weren’t opposed to the ship coming in. We thought it could be an attraction to bring people into the restaurant. As long as they stick to their hours and close by 7 p.m., it could benefit 41 and Christie's,” Delgiuidice said.
David Lester, owner of SeaFair, said they have already sold 2,000 tickets to out-of-town attendees.
Visitors can browse three decks of international galleries, two outdoor bars, an international coffee bar, an open-air bistro, a formal, glass-walled restaurant or the sky deck. The food and beverages aboard SeaFair will be supplied by Blue Rocks Catering, headed by Newport resident Ingrid Martins along with Roxanne Callahan of Café Zelda.
The mega-yacht will host dealers from North America, Europe, the Bahamas and Israel with exhibits across a broad range of media and periods. Attendees can expect to see fine art glass, paintings, jewelry, design, sculpture, photography and furniture. The majority of artwork will fall in the price range of $3,000 to $200,000. Lester said less than one percent of the attendees actually buy artwork, but come for the experience.
At 228 feet and 2,800 international tons, SeaFair is one of the largest ships built for commercial operation in the Intracoastal Waterway and requires a draft of only six and a half feet, allowing it to dock in the shallow waters of Newport Harbor rather than use commercial ports.
Tickets will include three levels of admission, one-day for $20, three-day for $25 and Preferred Boarding for $50. One-day and three-day tickets can be purchased for a discounted pre-sale price on the website and at the Newport Visitor Center.