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With thousands of people expected to flood the Yorktown Waterfront for the first stop of the 18th-century French tall ship replica this weekend, York County authorities will be ready to handle any scenario.
Starting Friday morning with the arrival of the Hermione on the York River, additional deputies from the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office and Firefighter-EMTs from the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety will be stationed all around the waterfront to ensure safety.
“We’re going to have plenty of deputy presence down there,” Lt. Dennis Ivey with YPSO said. “We’re there to make sure everyone has a safe and good experience with the ship coming in.”
The ship is expected to attract more than 5,000 people each of its three days in Yorktown, said Steve Hornsby, president of the Watermen’s Museum.
Ivey said deputies would be paying particular attention to parking, which is limited. On Friday, York County is providing a free shuttle service from Newport News’ Endview Plantation on 362 Yorktown Road to the Yorktown Victory Center.
YPSO is not disclosing the number of deputies who will be on patrol for the Hermione events.
During the rest of the weekend, attendees can park at one of the county’s larger parking lots, including at the York-Poquoson Courthouse, the administration building or the parking deck in Riverwalk Landing.
Ivey asked locals and visitors alike be mindful and patient of traffic problems that may ensue due to the expected high attendance rate.
“We’ll have enhanced security, and we’re treating it kind of like a mini Fourth of July,” said Sheriff J.D. “Danny” Diggs, referring to the annual Yorktown Fourth of July Celebration, which includes a parade, ceremony, fireworks and live music.
Additional fire and EMS presence is also expected during the height of the event, York County Fire Chief Steve Kopczynski said.
Kopczynski suggested attendees be mindful of the summer heat — which is expected to remain in the 80s all weekend — by staying hydrated and dressing appropriately.