The Friends of Windjammer Days have been working diligently the past few months on the 57th annual Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days Festival sailing into the harbor June 23-29. This year marks the group’s sixth year at the helm of this week-long event, the longest running of its kind in Maine. And, yes, adding Boothbay Harbor to the Festival name is a new and permanent change to distinguish it from other windjammer festivals in the state.
Speaking of windjammers ... might as well start off with the confirmed stars of the 2019 Festival. Many over the years have been members of the Maine Windjammer Association based in Rockland. Two of those gorgeous vessels that never miss the Festival are American Eagle and Heritage. Also confirmed for 2019 are Actress, Adventure, Alert, Ardelle, Bowdoin, Eastwind, Ernestina-Morrissey, Harvey Gamage, Jenny Ives, Lynx, Mary E, True North, and Sycamore. So far, anyway. Cap’n Pete Ripley still has a few on his radar. Stay tuned.
On the entertainment scene, there are a few new acts coming to the stage at the Whale Park: Meghan Clark, a 16-year-old recording artist singing pop-country rock-alternative, and soul tunes; Owen Kennedy, a young fiddler who plays Celtic and traditional Irish music (he was at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens last fall); and Gina and The Red Eye Flight Crew, a funk-soul-grit band.
Returning for another set or two: the Don Brewer Blues Project, stellar blues - original tunes; The Work Trucks, alternative rockers; the Dave Gagne Band (Americana, folk, rock); the Dyer Neck Gang, hard drivin’ country-rock and classic rock; Pat Colwell and The Soul Sensations, soul, blues, and swing ... you want it, they’ve got it; the Delta Knights Jazz Duo, Rob Babson on guitar and Justin Maxwell on upright bass; Ben Betts on steel drums; and last year’s crowned youth royalty, winners of the Boothbay’s Got Talent talent show: King of the Harbor Spencer Pottle and Miss Windjammers (yes, there was a tie) Sarah Harris and Sophia Mansfield, and the Boothbay Region Community Band’s playlist of traditional and pop tunes round out this facet of the Festival.
New to the Festival this year is the annual rock skipping contest. Locals know the late Arthur Webster, accomplished musician and rock skipper, coordinated and emceed the event for 11 or so years. In his honor, the contest has been renamed the Arthur Webster Memorial Rock Skipping Contest and it's on for high noon June 23, the first day of the Festival. This event has been known to attract some interesting rock skipping personas ... no doubt this year there may be a few more than usual!
Grand Marshals news: Yes, there will be 14 Street Parade Grand Marshals this year. After the Lady Seahawks’ spectacular undefeated season and winning the Class C State Championship, Stephanie Hawke and the Street Parade committee decided to ask the team to be the 2019 Grand Marshals. And the team said yes! Now, typically FWJD provide convertibles for the grand marshal ... but with 14 players, a float will probably work better! Some of you may remember back in the early 2000s when a float was used for the former Fishermen’s Festival Tall Tales emcees Cap’n Rusty Court, (the late) Charlie Begin and Dean Morrison (Dean sure had a great time with a super soaker water gun). Point being: It won’t be the first time a float replaced a convertible!
The FWJD sends out this S.O.S. notice to the community: A fun-loving fan of sport and competition with great organizational skills (and a sense of humor) to lead the Tug Across the Harbor committee. Former lead Chris Gleason has moved out of the area and an individual - or couple - are needed to join committee members Darrell Gudroe (sound man) and Doug Gimbel. Interested? Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or show up at the next Friends of Windjammer Days meeting on Tuesday, April 9 at Oak Street Cafe at 5 p.m.
T-shirt competition chair Rosemary Bourette reported the first Youth T-shirt Design Competition was a success. Boothbay Region Elementary School eighth grader Grace Campbell’s chosen design celebrates the Festival, the Boothbay region and the state. A specific request for long sleeved, white adult T’s has been received and will be taken into consideration when soft goods ordering time arrives.
There are more exciting, enticing and entertaining details being worked out for the Festival. More updates to come after the April meeting. And, as always, for full Festival details, visit www.boothbayharborwindjammerdays.org