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U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Joe Porzio, an AH-1Z Viper pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, interacts with community members during Fleet Week San Diego 2019 aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS San Diego, in San Diego, Nov. 9, 2019.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Joe Porzio, an AH-1Z Viper pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, interacts with community members during Fleet Week San Diego 2019 aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS San Diego, in San Diego, Nov. 9, 2019. (Victoria Decker/U.S. Marine Corps)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — Fleet Week San Diego returns to the Broadway Pier this weekend with free ship tours, Marine Corps displays and a high-tech innovation zone open to the public.

This year is the 20th anniversary of Fleet Week San Diego and marks a return to in-person events after the pandemic dampened the 2020 iteration, which was mostly held virtually.

While some of the technology displays will be a bit scaled down from what they were a couple years ago, Fleet Week CEO Larry Blumberg said he’s glad to have the event back on the pier.

“We really wanted to make it happen (this year) because I felt if we would have gone another year we wouldn’t have gotten it back,” Blumberg said in an interview Thursday. “We’re absolutely delighted. It really feels good to have the ships at the pier.”

Blumberg said the organization is still taking health precautions. Everyone entering the ships will have to wear masks, he said.

Both the Navy and Coast Guard offered vessels up to public tours from Friday through Sunday. Two San Diego-based ships — the fast-response cutter Benjamin Bottoms and the littoral combat ship Fort Worth — will be open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Fort Worth is the first littoral combat ship to participate in Fleet Week San Diego, Blumberg said.

Another event back from last year’s hiatus is the Student STEM Days, in which local students tour the ships and get to interact with various technologies from some of San Diego’s high-tech military contractors.

The weekend’s event concludes with a country music concert on the pier featuring artists Tim Hurley and Honey County.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro will also be in San Diego this weekend to help launch the Navy replenishment oiler Harvey Milk at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard and give a speech at the San Diego Military Advisory Council breakfast at Naval Base Point Loma Monday.

Fleet Week San Diego concludes Thursday with the Veteran’s Day Boat Parade. In addition to a parade of boats it will feature a Coast Guard demonstration, skydiving and a vintage aircraft flyover.

For more information on the events and schedule visit fleetweeksandiego.org.

©2021 The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Visit sandiegouniontribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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