Remember Wings Over Wiscasset?
The inaugural WOW in 2013 at Wiscasset Municipal Airport was really nice, honoring veterans, having an air show and other attractions including static displays of warbirds. Children’s summer camps came, as did thousands of locals and visitors.
Year two was much the same, but less of what went into the event was going to come free, so organizers trimmed and saved. WOW 2014 broke an attendance record, at 7,500 over two days.
Unless it is ever brought back, that was the last Wings. Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce tried hard, planning for months, before canceling year three in 2015 due to revenue falling short. Again, some things that had come free to the event no longer were, and the Chamber was looking to try charging admission except for veterans.
But sometimes, if something just isn’t floating with enough, or big enough, donations and sponsorships, it is time to call it, and WACC did. Good call.
We got at least two Wiscasset classics back a year-plus into the pandemic, First Congregational Church of Wiscasset’s Summerfest and Wiscasset Art Walk. Both are right-sized, not trying to be a Lobster Festival or Damariscotta Pumpkinfest. Each attracts whoever is interested, or driving by and stopping for it.
We are getting a new entry, Schoonerfest, Aug. 18-22. The plans are many and sound wonderful. This could be great!
We will root for Schoonerfest as we did WOW, and just as we continue to laud the longtime annual events, including those that did not make it back this year as the pandemic goes on.
No judgment or advice on whether voters should or should not help fund Schoonerfest beyond any police or other needs that come. Looks like they will decide Aug. 31, after the event. Organizers have said the event will happen either way.
Schoonerfest might very well wind up making memories and bringing exposure to be proud of, and momentum for the next one.
I have seen more than once, Terry Heller is good at ordering the weather. So I do not expect rain, but, should it, it will be harder to gauge what might have been, attendance-wise. Sunny, mild weather will provide the best test, but even that is muddied by the virus’ unwelcome head in Lincoln County. We’re not Florida, nor are we Waldo County of late, which is good for Schoonerfest and all of us. But right now when people hear Delta, the old airline is still probably not the first thing that comes to mind. It is too bad year one of Schoonerfest comes with the virus not a thing of the past.
WOW had a lot of support, just not enough for it to continue. And there was not a pandemic on. WOW ended, for the natural causes of the struggle for funds. Schoonerfest has its shot now, and will make a great go of it, little doubt.
WOW had its time and might again someday, but it ended when it should have, rather than languishing.
May Schoonerfest have fair winds, following seas and return again and again. It will be something to enjoy and experience local history amid, and hopefully add to shopping and dining.
But if it bows some subsequent year, that is OK, too. There is value in the try. And however many Schoonerfests are to come, nothing will take away the one(s) that were, any more than anything can take away the memories of Boothbay Harbor’s Fishermen’s Festival, or WOW.
All the best, Schoonerfest!