The harbor will be a little less festive this summer.
Officials with the South Carolina Maritime Foundation said Thursday the Charleston Harbor Fest scheduled for June has been postponed until next year.
But they promise the 2011 Harbor Fest will be epic.
Will Haynie, the foundation's chief executive officer, said a number of factors conspired to make the annual festival unfeasible this year. A mid-year change in leadership cut into planning, he said, but the biggest factor was the lack of tall ships available to make appearances. Tall ships are, without a doubt, the festival's top draw.
The foundation was even having a hard time booking its own ship, the Spirit of South Carolina.
"It appeared our own ship would be away on grant-funded obligations," Haynie said. "It's not the economy, but when you add it all up, it was just going to cost too much money to risk."
Haynie said the foundation already is planning next year's fest, talking with tall-ship officials and considering an air show. In addition, the Harbor Fest may coincide with the race restart of the Velux 5 Oceans race, the solo sailboat race formerly known as Around Alone.
Harbor Fest, which generally is held in mid-June, has drawn 80,000 or more visitors to downtown in recent years.
Helen Hill, executive director of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said one less event this year will not likely affect the city's rebounding tourism market.
"We're excited that they are regrouping and planning for next year," Hill said. "It wasn't a tall-ship year. We're going to have a really big summer. Advance bookings are pretty good."