Plot a course for Camden this Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-3, when the harbor will fill with the sails and masts of a dozen windjammers and schooners. Friday, Sept. 2, brings the launch of Camden’s 27th annual maritime celebration, the Camden Windjammer Festival, which features the largest gathering of windjammers in the northeast. The festival offers two days of family-friendly events, spirited competition and nautical exhibits, a combination that one can only experience on Labor Day Weekend in Camden.
Throughout the day Friday, a silent auction will be underway, with bidders vying to join the guests and crew for dinner aboard a handful of the Maine Windjammer Association vessels Friday night.
The day’s schedule also includes radio-controlled boat races in the harbor, a lobster hauling demonstration, a downtown treasure hunt and a Camden walking tour with locals.
The evening includes an outdoor concert and schooner talent show in Harbor Park, and culminates with fireworks over the harbor.
Settle in Friday around 2 p.m., on a bench at the public landing, and watch as the windjammers parade into the harbor throughout the afternoon.
Capt. Jim Sharp provides running commentary on the history and glory of each vessel as it makes its way to a berth at the public docks. The vessels are greeted with cheers from the crowd, and each captain is gifted a pineapple, a symbol of hospitality.
Saturday morning begins early with the Camden Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast and the start of the Camden Fire Department Windjammer 5K. The Lobster Crate Race is Saturday’s highlight, and features contestants racing across a line of more than 40 crates, trying to avoid falling into the harbor. The crate race is at high tide, which is around 4 p.m. this year. Pirates of the Dark Rose will be skulking around the festival seeking cohorts.
Also on Saturday, stop by the big tent for the West Bay Rotary Chowder Challenge at noon, where the locally filmed version of Captains Courageous will also be playing. The movie is scheduled to play on repeat throughout the afternoon Saturday.
During the Festival, the public landing will play host to displays of maritime traditions and crafts, and the schooners are open for tours Saturday afternoon.
Day sail schooners will be sailing daily to get you out on Penobscot Bay for a couple of hours. An ice cream vendor will be located on the public landing, with restaurants and stores open downtown during the Festival as well.
The Camden Opera House welcomes Jonny A. as this year’s Camden Windjammer Festival weekend concert. The axeman’s axeman will play a solo show, opened by Maine singer-songwriter Caroline Cotter. Tickets available in advance at camdenoperahouse.com.
Camden Windjammer Festival recognizes the importance of these glorious sailing vessels to Camden's maritime history, with a special salute to the captains and crew of the town's day sailers, and the vessels that comprise the Maine Windjammer Association and Maine Windjammer Cruises, among others.
Entrance to the Camden Windjammer Festival is free, with generous financial and in-kind support from numerous businesses, organizations, and individual volunteers, in partnership with the town of Camden, which runs the event. The Fireworks, Talent Show and Crate Race are sponsored by Camden National Bank, Bay View Collection, Camden Area Business Group and Artisan Boatworks, with additional funding provided by The First Bank. Be sure to thank and show your support for all of those who contributed to this year’s event.
The detailed schedule of events is available at camdensnowbowl.com.