Sail ho! Windjammer Days are on the horizon

Posted:  Monday, June 19, 2017 - 11:00am
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Sailing into Boothbay Harbor June 28! File photo

Hoist those sails, set out for the sea or pack those vehicles and head for the highway; and be bound for Boothbay Harbor sailors and landlubbers, for the 55th Annual Windjammer Days Festival just DAYS away! Ten days of fun and adventure await you and yours Sunday, June 25 through Saturday, July 1.

Your 10-day adventure starts Sunday, June 25 with the Arts & Crafts Show on the Boothbay Common at 10 a.m.; the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club One Design Races at 1 p.m., and the Blessing of the (commercial) Fleet at 1:30 p.m. Watch the boats parade around the inner harbor toward Fishermen’s Memorial Park on Atlantic Avenue for the local clergy’s blessing (and a sprinkling or two of Holy Water for good measure) for a safe season.

On Monday, June 26 don’t miss the first ever tours at internationally known sailmaker Nathaniel Wilson’s Sail Loft in East Boothbay. Wilson will hold a demonstration and stitch in lessons about the history and making of sails from 1-3 p.m. Parking for this event is in a designated area located at Ocean Point Marina, 216 Ocean Point Road, East Boothbay.
Another exhibit on schooners can be viewed at Boothbay Region Historical Society on Oak Street in Boothbay Harbor.

The Antique Boat Parade – a forever favorite event – on Tuesday, June 27 is from 3-4 p.m. Festival-goers will be welcomed to the reception that follows (4-ish) at the new Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort (formerly Rocktide Inn) on Atlantic Avenue. Come hear sailing tales told by visiting and local windjammer captains while indulging in complimentary appetizers and special festival-themed drinks (not complimentary) ... then it’s live music deckside!

Artist’s Alley on Tuesday, June 27 and Wednesday, June 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., is in a new location this year on Howard Street, beginning at Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library down to the Boothbay Harbor Fire Station. This event is always a treat – art in multi medias – painting, fiber arts, photography, jewelry, weaver/spinners, pottery, silk hangings, collage, sculpture, pet portraits, cards; there are artists working on new paintings, a silent auction, a musician or two, and a silent auction. Confirmed artists are: Diane Horton, Barbara LeFort, Erik Minzner, Sandy Dolan, Marianne Janik, Susie Stephenson, Luke Hartmann, Peggy Clark Lumpkins, Kathleen Sullivan, Jack Duford, Derek Keenan, Christine Possner, Peter and Jordan Johannes, Ardys, Arlin and Marvin Jacob; Kate Winslow and Mary Norwood; Anne Gobes, Ania K. Davis, Janet Brennan, Margaret Canepa, Diane Harwood, Freida Hanlon, Nancy Shaul and Laurel Gaverill.

For the kiddies! Children will have a blast visiting Kids’ Alley Tuesday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Boothbay House Hill Road. Just look for the bouncy house and tables set up with crafts to light up every youngster’s imagination. On Wednesday, June 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Boothbay Region Land Trust will host a kid’s tent with creative building projects and other fun things for the younger set to do. And, on those same two days, the Maine State Aquarium has many events lined up for kids and adults alike, from crafts and lobster talks to fishing to a lab tour, to getting up close and personal with a few sharks and helping staff at feeding time. And Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library’s Windjammers For Wee Mateys will feature a touch tank from the aquarium, stories and all manner of imaginative fun!

If you’re a fan of the ghostly tales and supernatural history of the places you visit, you need to take one of the two Red Cloak Haunted History Tours – special Windjammer Days version! This 90-minute walking tour should prove most enlightening! Children under 8 might become a bit bored. Leashed, friendly dogs welcome. Contact the Lady in the Red Cloak to register for the 7:30 p.m. June 27 or June 28 tour, call 207-380-3806. During registration you will be told where the tour begins …

The Pirates of the Dark Rose return on Tuesday, June 27 and Wednesday, June 28 with tours of the Must Roos, cannon lessons and teaching about pirate ways and other “tools of the pirating trade,” pirate recruiting, a puppet show, and a battle for Boothbay Harbor against the British at high noon on Wednesday!

And then … the seafaring stars of the show sail in between 1 and 3 p.m. on June 28, and they are … American Eagle, Heritage, Harvey Gamage, Lewis H. Story, Eastwind, Lazy Jack, Alert, Adventure, Ardelle, True North, Lynx and the Ernestina-Morrissey.

The Ernestina, however, is in drydock at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, in year two of a complete restoration. A special reception and tour (no tickets needed) will be held on Thursday, June 29 from 4-5 p.m. at the shipyard on Commercial Street in Boothbay Harbor. One hundred percent of donations accepted go to the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association.

The Street Parade on Wednesday, June 28, begins at 4 p.m. This is the quintessential small town parade featuring bands from the Boothbay Region Community Band to the Sailing Masters of 1812 from Essex, Connecticut; floats, zippy Kora cars and such; horses, fire trucks, clowns; and convertibles providing transport for parade dignitaries including the Blake Boys – Neil, Joe and Gary – grand marshals of the event, Miss Windjammer; antique cars ... and maybe a few Pirates of the Dark Rose.

Contestants in the Fish Relay Race on Wednesday, June 28 at 3 p.m. will be running a shorter course than last year: at the same starting point near the Whale Park the course goes to the top of Commercial Street and back to the start. Sign up will be at the Whale Park – just look for the “Sign up here!” signage. This year the committee plans to have two large fish – the larger the fish, the more the challenge!

The Wednesday night of Windjammer week means fireworks! Gather ’round the harbor by 9. First shot should go skyward at 9:15 p.m., weather permitting. If it’s foggy and/or rainy, the display will be on the next clear night. 

Other competitions: the lobster eating contest – crack and gorge your way to the winner’s circle by eating the knuckles, claws and tails of two Maine lobsters. Oyster lovers should meander over to Mine Oyster (where else?) on Friday, June 30 between 5-7 p.m. for the Oyster Shucking Contest! Think of yourself as an expert at opening those luscious bivalve molluscs? Maybe, but how quick are you?  Brave enough to find out? And yes, that is a challenge!

The musicians performing on the stage in the Whale Park Tuesday through Saturday will have you up and dancing, be it rock ‘n roll, Americana, blues, country, country-rock, folk, and jazz. Who’ll be making this music? Check it out: Nikki Hunt Band, Pookie and The Boys, Ronda Dale Trio, The Delta Knights, The Soul Sensations; and local bands – The Murky Waters Band, The Spaceheaters, Dyer Neck Gang, Dave Gagne Trio; Noel Arrington, Gabe Tonon and Pip Walters; and the talented singing and dancing Y-Arts youth group.

The third Tug of War Across the Harbor is set for 5 p.m. Saturday, July 1. This event draws a big crowd. This year there will be a posted schedule of who is pulling when – and where. This event is always exciting and best viewing is from the footbridge, the footbridge parking lot (site of a team pull) and across the footbridge (site of the second team). The winning team of the first event in 2015 was from Hammond Lumber and in 2016 it was the Marden Builders crew. Will Marden Builders enter this year to hold onto its title? Several teams are already confirmed – but more are needed!

The festival wraps up with a Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday at 9 p.m. - private and commercial boats and schooners, aglow with lights, parade in the inner and outer harbor … and into the night.

For full details on the 55th Windjammer Days Festival, visit www.boothbayharborwindjammerdays.org.