For the 57th year, Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days are upon us … and what a rockin’ good time those seven days, June 23 - 29, will be!
The Friends of Windjammer Days, at the helm of the festival since 2013, have charted our course. Let’s check out what points are not to be missed (and yes that means all of them).
A new event for the Festival, Sunday, June 23, but not new to the region is the Arthur Webster Memorial Rock Skipping Contest. The Friends quickly added the event traditionally held in July in honor of the late musician (Orne’s Candy Store man) and contest coordinator-judge. This event draws some clever and intriguing characters with handles like The Atomic Elbow and Rock-e-Balboa … and an even larger crowd! The skipping begins at high noon. Footbridge parking lot. BYOR … bring your own rocks.
Sunday also brings the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club’s One Design boat races at 1 p.m. — course between the yacht club in West Boothbay Harbor and Tumbler Island — and the Blessing of the Fleet at 1:30 p.m. Red Cloak History Tours is offering a special maritime tour during the festival this year (as well as the haunted history tours). Speaking of things maritime, the new Windjammer Emporium on Pier 1 has an impressive maritime history exhibit that’s not to be missed. Sunday wraps up with a Reggae cruise with Dani Tribesmen — an offbeat good time!
The Crab Cake Cook Off on Monday, June 24 at Oceanside on Atlantic Avenue will bring Gov. Janet Mills to town. Mills has accepted an invitation to be one of the judges at this year’s tasty event. The Boothbay Sea and Science Center open house and tours of internationally known sailmaker Nat Wilson’s Sail Loft will bring folks over East Boothbay way between 1 and 4 p.m. And the first competition of this year’s Festival, the Tug of War Across the Harbor, gets underway at 3 p.m. in the Footbridge parking lot emceed by Doug Gimbel with sound man Darrell Gudroe. Teams of 11 are being formed now. Sign up your team in advance at www.boothbayharborwindjammerdays.org or arrive early in the parking lot to do it. Last year, a group of visitors decided to get in on the action ... just sayin’. Don’t miss the Ernestina-Morrissey reception from 4 to 5 p.m. at Bristol Marine on Commercial Street. And remember: Donations will be gratefully appreciated and will be given to the grand dame’s Foundation. Come 6 p.m., head over to the YMCA on Townsend Avenue where Boothbay’s Got Talent will get underway. This youth competition will end with a new Miss Windjammer!
Tuesday, June 25 and Wednesday, June 26 the Friends information tent will be set up in the Whale Park offering schedules — events and shuttle — and Windjammer Days guides (brought to you by the Festival enthusiasts at the Boothbay Register). You’ll also find this year’s commemorative T’s and sweatshirts, and white short and long-sleeved T’s with a design by incoming Boothbay Region High School freshman Grace Campbell. Look for the triangular-shaped banner (thanks Debrah Yale), near the info tent, with the designs of all the students who participated in this new design contest. Get your tickets for the Festival’s annual raffle here, too. The Festival raffle held the Tuesday and Wednesday every year now has a grand grand prize, thanks to John Foss, captain of the American Eagle: A three- or four-day cruise for two this season. Dates available for this prize are July 7, Aug. 1, Aug. 24, Sept. 25, Oct. 1 and Oct. 6.
Another something new this year: Tiny doors. There are 22 tiny doors (kind of like fairy doors) at 22 locations around town. They were made by the art students at Boothbay Region Elementary School. Thanks to the Tiny Doors Installation Team led by BRES art teacher Jessica Nadeau, you are invited to find them all. Ask about them at the info tent.
The competitions, lobster eating contest and fish relay races are on Wednesday, June 26. Salute to Robinson’s Wharf over Southport way for donating the lobsters for the event; to Mill Cove Lobster Pound for donating the fish for the races; and to Janson’s for the new “oilskin” jacket and pants for this year’s contestants to break in. The YMCA’s Rocky Coast Road Race is Saturday, June 29 and always draws a lot of participants.
The Pirates of the Dark Rose will be returning to town for Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s festivities, so consider yourself warned. They’ll be dueling, quarreling, recruiting — hold onto the children — demonstrating their expertise with weaponry, and whatever else they get up to.
Kid activities? Got ’em. From the Wee Mateys crafts and storytelling at Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library to the crafts and learning at the Boothbay Region Land Trust tent and Kids Alley, to the fun and fishing at the Maine State Aquarium and the previously mentioned open house at Boothbay Sea and Science Center … not to mention the Street Parade … yeah, kids are covered!
The Fleet gathers on Wednesday, June 26 in the harbor, but local boat tour companies will be offering special trips to see the gorgeous and graceful schooners around Cabbage Island and the outer harbor waters on Tuesday, June 25. The fleet comes in between 1 and 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Don’t miss it! Which schooners, you ask? Actress, Adventure, Alert, American Eagle, Ardelle, Mary E, Heritage, Eastwind, Lewis H. Story, Jenny Ives, Sycamore, True North, Harvey Gamage. And, while they may not be sailing in with the fleet, Ernestina-Morrissey and the Bowdoin are at Bristol Marine Shipyard.
Tours of the U.S. Coast Guard Station, the pirate ship Dark Roos, (both Tuesday and Wednesday) and Schooner Harvey Gamage are a go. AND … Bowdoin deck tours will be happening on Wednesday June 26. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bristol Marine.
Schooners may be the stars of the Festival, but the beauties in the Antique Boat Parade are real charmers, and the Lighted Boat Parade, the Festival’s closing event, shows off local lobster, pleasure, and Coastie vessels in a highly dazzling fashion. And, speaking of dazzling … the fireworks are Wednesday night at 9:15.
The lineup of musicians and vocalists (Tuesday through Saturday) is fabulous. Check it: Meghan Clark, Owen Kennedy, Boothbay Region Community Band, Gina and The Red Eye Flight Crew, Dave Gagne Band, Windjammer Princesses and a King of the Harbor, Pat Colwell & the Soul Sensations, The Band Capitol, Work Trucks, Ben Betts, Delta Knights Duo, the Don Brewer Blues Project, and the Dyer Neck Gang.
Don’t miss Artist’s Alley on Friday in the Whale Park. Can’t beat that location, right? Local and regional artists of a variety of media, some offering live demos, will be on the waterfront. Rain date: Saturday, June 29. There will also be a silent auction. Here are some of the excellent items to bid on: Three-hour Harbor cruise for up to 16 passengers aboard the Nellie G II — (minimum bid, $500); foursome of golf at Boothbay Harbor Country Club ($600 value); two-night stay on Ram Island in the rustic three-bedroom Lighthouse Keeper's residence. (minimum bid, $800); kayaking tours from Tidal Transit from either the harbor location or the Coastal Botanical Gardens dock; a family membership to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (value $90); an evening for two at the Carousel Music Theater (value $50) … and that’s just for starters.
Don’t miss any of the action! For up-to-date information, visit the official Festival site: www.boothbayharborwindjammerdays.org