Dates, new events announced for Windjammer Days 2015

Committee announces festival dates
Wed, 10/15/2014 - 4:15pm

    Take out your calendars: The dates for the 53rd annual Windjammer Days in Boothbay Harbor will be June 21-27, 2015.

    At an Oct. 14 meeting, The Friends of Windjammer Days board and committee members discussed changes to the festival.

    Several new events are planned, including a lighted boat parade and a tug-of-war competition.

    Kim Gillies is coordinating the boat parade, which will end the week-long festival on Saturday night. Korey Lewis will be coordinating the tug-of-war, which will extend a length of rope across the Harbor, with one team on the east side and another on the west side.

    Sue and Nancy Rowe have volunteered to decorate, and light up, the footbridge for the festival.

    In addition to this year’s dates, festival dates through the year 2020 will be announced in November.

    Friends of Windjammer Days Board Director Pete Ripley said he sent dates to the Windjammer Association, to ensure the Windjammers can attend. The association's board meets Oct. 23 and will contact Ripley by the month’s end.

    Several vessels Ripley is working on getting to the festival may be especially familiar to locals.

    Ripley noted that the Ocean Classroom Foundation had ceased operations on Aug. 31 this year in Boothbay Harbor, moving to a new temporary location at Portland Yacht Services, owned by Phineas Sprague. Despite Ocean Classroom's relocation, Ripley still hopes to have Ocean Classroom’s educational vessels Harvey Gamage and Westwind here for the festival.

    Ocean Classroom's new permanent location will be in the Portland Company Marine Complex.

    Noah Barnes, owner of the Stephen Tabor, has acquired the Nathaniel Bowditch.

    Ripley will be working with both Sprague and Barnes about getting these vessels to participate in the festival.

    The Friends also welcomed a new board director, renowned East Boothbay sailmaker Nat Wilson.

    In addition to Wilson and Ripley, the board comprises Dianne Gimbel, Mark Gimbel, Bill Logan and Andy Luke.

    “Nat is a wealth of information and will be an asset to us in growing this festival,” Board Chairman Dianne Gimbel said. “We are very, very happy to have him on board.”

    Mike Tomko, a contractor who also sits on the Boothbay Harbor Planning Board and other civic organizations, has volunteered to head up the Friends of Windjammer Days float design contest.

    The float must be solid enough to be transported to other event locations, like Yarmouth Clam Festival and the Lobster Festival, in order to promote Windjammer Days in Boothbay Harbor.

    Ripley suggested the float should be a windjammer, just as the Rockland Lobster Festival's traveling float is a lobster. More information will be forthcoming.

    The committee chairs of the Friends inaugural year are all returning, and tackling various duties and events: Stephanie Hawke, parade; Laura Blake; VIP reception; Andrew Morley, cod fish relay, lobster eating contest and Rocky Coast Road Race; Kris Ward, Whale Park/FWD information tent; Paul Johnson, entertainment; Janet Brennan, Artist's Alley; Trish Warren, Kid's Alley; Doug Goldhirsch and Bruce White, Antique Boat Parade; Ralph Smith, food and Rusty Court, military liaison.

    Volunteers for all the above committees are needed for 2015. Those interested can contact these chairs and/or plan to attend the FWD monthly meetings held on the second Tuesday of the month (no meeting in December) at 5 p.m. at the Boathouse Bistro.

    The Friends of Windjammer Days is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit comprising a group of volunteers who have come together to continue the tradition of Windjammer Days in Boothbay Harbor. They have committed to maintaining the heritage of this maritime event to enhance the Boothbay region community and the experience of maritime Maine.

    For more information on the 2015 festival and sponsorship opportunities, visit the official Windjammer Days Festival website: www.windjammerdays.org.

    To see what happened at the 2014 Windjammers Festival, click here.