ROCKLAND — Two boat-related events that were slated in Rockland for the summer of 2020 are tentatively returning to the calendar for 2021, toned down, adapted, and reliant on State CDC recommendations. Spokespeople representing each event requested City support during the April 8 City Council meeting.
Rockland Bicentennial and windjammer anniversaries
“It was going to be a fantastic celebration of the maritime elements of Maine’s history, and in particular, Rockland’s role in that story,” said the organizing group’s spokesperson, Dan Bookham.
With a looming “go/no-go” date of June 1, organizers of Rockland’s Bicentennial group are again making plans for a potential Friday, July 2, celebration. Because of the waterfront location of the events, those plans of “what we feel we can do under the current guidelines,” said Bookham, are subject to review by the Harbor Management Committee. Organizers are hoping to use the docks as much as was agreed to by the Commission last year.
Due to a year’s postponement, the plans now extend to include the 150-year birthdays of the windjammers Stephen Tabor and Lewis R. French. The two vessels are the oldest operating merchant vessels in the United States, and based in the Midcoast, with the Stephen Tabor based in Rockland.
“The celebration, of course, will include blowing out the candles on their cakes, and really bringing home the impacts that the marine trades have in the history of Maine, through the visual spectacles of our windjammers,” said Bookham.
An evening of concerts is also planned, which had been part of the Governor’s Bicentennial Blaine House concert series. The concert is slated to include Schooner Fare, the Dave Mallett Band, and the granddaughter/niece of the Stephen Tabor family.
Whether fireworks will appear this year is still to be determined. According to Bookham, the committee is watching State CDC requirements around crowd size.
“We have a moral responsibility to avoid large gatherings if that’s still the case in early July,” he said.
A tentative reserve date for fireworks is scheduled for September.
Maine Boat and Home Show
We are “planning, with a grace of God, [to have the Maine Boat and Home Show] August 13, 14, 15 on the waterfront in Rockland,” said John Hanson, owner of Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Magazine, headquartered in Rockland.
The show planned to have a special event last year as part of the Bicentennial, called “200+ years of Maine Boats.”
Similar to the plans intended in 2020, a special exhibit in Buoy Park with the ApprenticeShop and the Penobscot Marine Museum will take visitors from the earliest of Maine vessels – the birchbark canoe – through the evolution of peapods and other working small craft – right up to the 3D printed vessel that the University of Maine did last year.
The Show would like Rockland to help sponsor the event by waiving the Show’s rent of Buoy Park, and, if possible, allow access to Middle Pier for boats that can’t be put on land, such as Friendship Sloops, lobster boats, and other boats of that size.
With Rockland’s support, in lieu of the park fee, the Show would like to open the exhibit portion of the show to the public for free.
“I think it would be wonderful for more of our populace to know of the evolution of boats that were done here in Maine, and their impact both on the state of Maine and its history and economy – but actually on the world,” said Hanson.