June 24, 2018
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Tourists expected to flock to Windjammer Festival

By Dan Bookham, Special to the BDN

Camden’s Windjammer Festival will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the fleet with new events and a weekend brimming with family fun events, music, fireworks, and perhaps even some pillaging and plundering.

A large and diverse fleet of windjammers, schooners, historic yachts and sailboats will drop their sails and land in Camden Harbor on Friday, Sept. 2, to celebrate the annual Camden Windjammer Festival. Kicking off the three-day festival that will focus on Maine’s maritime heritage and the coast’s windjammer history, the fleet is expected to be welcomed by thousands who flock to the area for a taste of the seafaring life.

Highlights include schooner and windjammer sailing tours, music concerts, fireworks, the Maritime Heritage Fair, pirate invasion of Camden, lobster crate race, Tim Sample live at the Camden Opera House and more. New this year, the USS John L. Hall, a Navy fast frigate built in Bath, will join the fleet in the harbor. Find the full schedule online at camdenwindjammerfestival.com/events.

Over the course of the past two decades Camden’s annual windjammer celebration in its various forms has become a wildly popular event for tourists as well as locals. The Camden Windjammer Festival is a celebration of midcoast Windjammers and the living traditions of our maritime heritage that make today’s fleet such an integral part of coastal Maine life. Every year on Labor Day weekend, thousands of visitors from across the country and just across town gather along Camden’s wharfs and parks to explore the ships, learn salty crafts and skills, and swap sea stories and songs in talent shows and concerts that appeal to landlubbers and maritime types alike.

This year, Camden is going the extra nautical mile, pulling out all stops with a schedule of events to celebrate the history of windjammers in Maine with a harbor full of beautiful vessels, including 14 historic rigged vessels still working in a commercial capacity — and more. By contrast, bringing the waterfront well into the 21st century will be the U.S. Navy’s fast frigate USS John L. Hall that will visit for the weekend.

The Camden Windjammer Festival is a celebration of sailing and tourism as marked by passenger sailing expeditions that, in Camden, began in the 1930s. Visitors will have the rare chance to explore many of the windjammers, as well as travel back through time to try a hand at land-based nautical activities. Sunday also will see the Pirates of the Dark Rose stage their annual attack on Camden, although visitors need not worry about losing any silver or gold. There will be sailing excursions, historic walks and skills demonstrations.

For more information or to learn how to volunteer, visit camdenwindjammerfestival.com or call the Chamber at 236-4404.

Dan Bookham is the executive director of the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce. Call 236-4404, email dbookham@camdenme.org, or visit http://www.visitcamden.com for more information.

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