Dan Bookham, Special to the Midcoast Beacon

Windjammer Festival blows into Camden

Posted Aug. 30, 2011, at 4:27 p.m.

The Camden Windjammer Festival starts tomorrow. Throughout Labor Day weekend, Friday through Monday, Sept. 2-5, the festival again will welcome the windjammer fleet, as well as other special vessels, commercial and private, living history exhibits, wonderful food and flat-out family fun.

Thousands of people are expected to experience the schooners, music and maritime artisans participating in this year’s event. More than a dozen schooners will sail into one of the country’s most scenic harbors as the centerpiece of Camden Windjammer Festival 2011, a celebration of the area’s maritime heritage and Maine’s seafaring culture.

The arrival of the schooners will be capped with a crew and passenger talent show and fireworks over Camden Harbor at 9 p.m. Friday. The schooners will hold open houses, where visitors may tour the schooners at no cost and learn about the tradition the windjammers represent. Onshore, the Heritage Fair will offer free educational and fun activities to visitors and a free contradance Friday afternoon.

Traditional artisans will ply their trades at a Maritime Heritage Fair, including boat builders, blacksmiths, coopers, sailmakers, blacksmiths and fishermen. Performers will stage a “pirate attack” on the town. Contemporary Maine culture will be on display, with free activities such as the passenger and crew talent show Friday night, a pancake breakfast and a chowder challenge on Saturday, a performance by Maine’s comedian laureate Tim Sample on Saturday evening, an outdoor screening of the original “Captains Courageous” at Camden library amphitheater also on Saturday night, a dog parade and agility show on Sunday morning, an attack on Camden by The Pirates of the Dark Rose, and a closing performance Sunday by Maine musicians Denny Breau and the Dave Rowe Trio.

Most events are free for those who attend. More information about the festival and Camden’s maritime heritage is available online at www.camdenwindjammerfestival.com.

New this year, visitors are invited to tour the USS John L Hall, a Navy fast frigate built at Bath Iron Works. Tours are available Saturday and Sunday. Visit the festival online or on Camden’s public landing for more information.

On top of all that, the Camden Hills and Penobscot Bay area from Lincolnville to St. George offers everything you and your family need for a wonderful Labor Day weekend. From hiking to ice cream, fine dining to hot dogs, schooner trips to art museums: it’s all here in the midcoast.

From sailing aficionados and blueberry pancake and clam chowder enthusiasts to aspiring crate-racers and boat builders, the weekend is looking mighty shipshape. For more information, call the Chamber’s Camden office at 236-4404 or 800-223-5459.

Dan Bookham is executive director of the new Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce that combines the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville and Rockland-Thomaston Area Chambers of Commerce. Contact him at 236-4404 or dbookham@camdenme.org.

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