Every four years in mid-July, Brest harbour welcomes over 2,500 boats from around the world for the Maritime Festival. Thousands of sea-lovers and onlookers gather along the banks of the Penfeld and on the docks to come and admire the tall ships, historical replicas, working boats, exotic boats and superb yachts. The tall ships, which are spectacular, are the stars of the party. Every evening, there is live music on a stage at the commercial port as well as on the café terraces.
Brest International Maritime Festival also offers visitors a range of exhibition and entertainment areas: they can visit the sailboats and attend street performances, a military procession and a nightly parade of boats. The traditional fireworks of 14 July are one of the highlights of the maritime festival.
In 2012, the maritime festival was renamed Tonnerres de Brest and drew over 700,000 visitors and 9,000 sailors aboard 1,500 traditional sailboats.