Windjammer Days parade theme is maritime history, community

Parade start time 4 p.m. All entries $20
Fri, 05/09/2014 - 10:30am

    The Friends of Windjammer Days, the new organizers of the region's largest and longest-running festival, have been working on the 52nd annual celebration since taking over the reins during the winter months. This year the festival dates are June 22 through 28 — one week of events to delight even the most discriminating festival aficionado!

    Let's start with the street parade.

    The parade will be on Wednesday, June 25. This year's theme is “Our Maritime History and Community.” Our community has a lot of great events, businesses and nonprofits that represent who we are and where our passions lie. This year, the committee is opening the doors a little wider to help bring new ideas to the parade.

    This year's Grand Marshal is Vice Admiral James B. Perkins III, USN (Retired). The Vice Admiral is the President of L-3 Communications/TMA Corporation. TMA is headquartered in McLean, Va., and provides project engineering, technical services, and information technology services to support government and commercial clients. He also serves as the Senior Military Advisor for the American Maritime Congress.

    Vice Admiral Perkins retired from active duty in 1999 after a successful 35-year career as a Surface Warfare Officer. His experience included six command tours as well as a wide variety of senior operational leadership positions.

    This year there is another role of honor, that of Parade Captain, or Captains.

    Friends of Windjammer Days Committee member Mark Gimbel had the idea of honoring Dwight and Duane Lewis for their decades of tending the Southport Bridge. Parade Captains Dwight and Duane are well-known, beloved members of the community. The Friends of Windjammer Days Street Parade Committee: Co-Chairmen Stephanie Hawke, Dan Bryer, Heather O'Brien, Andy Hamblett, and Wendy Johnson, agreed that it was a great idea to honor and to thank the twin brothers for looking out for the thousands upon thousands of boats and always putting the bridge back together safely for the motorists.

    The Street Parade Committee has moved the start time of the parade up one hour to 4 p.m. The decision was made after Windjammer Liaison Capt. Pete Ripley, got a thumb's up from the captains of the schooners to be sure they hadn't any issues with it, being the stars of the show and all.

    “We wanted to move the time up in the hope of getting more businesses to participate in the parade ... maybe have more floats,” Hawke said.

    Speaking of floats, The theme of the 2014 WJD Street Parade is “Our Community.” A celebration of everything Boothbay.

    Floats and other entries should reflect what each entered business, from restaurants to boat builders, event, nonprofit, recreational company, theater group, nature preserve, garden, service group is. In other words, promote what or who you are creativity.

    OK, we hear you thinking, “but I don't have time to build a float.”

    We say: Consider collective floats. A group of restaurants get together and create ambiance. Can't you see it? A dining table of six rocking out to a live band or solo performer while a waiter or waitress, sporting a business T-shirt (of course), serves food and drink;

    Fishing boats: Have your maximum number of fishermen and fisherwomen on your float, complete with fishing rods. Some could be pretending to cast, others could be reelin' in a live one!

    Lobstermen: A float depicting our region's enduring livelihood (and the world's favorite crustacean) is a must! Show us goes on inside the boats we see out in the water.

    How about a collective art gallery float, maybe with artists on board painting, sculpting, and drawing what they observe and feel as their float moves through the streets. That could certainly pave the way for one huge plein air art show.

    Floats could depict events — a Fishermen's Festival float? Harbor Lights, Claw Down, Harbor Fest, Early Bird-PJ Party or Bed Races, Shipyard Cup, the Charities Classic golf event to benefit Special Olympics Maine, Antique Auto Days (this is year 50), the Fairy Festival.

    We're getting excited just thinking about it!

    With “Our Community” as a theme, the possibilities are endless: boat building, gardening, golfing (Nerf balls only, please); floats could depict places in the region, hiking areas, Burnt Island, Cuckolds Light B&B, schools, school bands; theatrical and musical venues like the Boothbay Playhouse, Carousel Music Theater, the Opera House.

    Just throwing ideas out there! And, speaking of throwing, candy and other goodies may be thrown to the crowds lining the streets — just keep all candy, necklaces and what not off the street where the parade is happening. Tripping and falling, unless deliberately done by say, a clown, is never a good time. Safety first everyone!

    Another change made by the Friends of Windjammer Days Street Parade Committee: there is a flat entry fee of $20 for anyone entering the parade, floats, cars, trucks, etc. Entry forms are available for download at www.windjammerdays.org.

    With the start time moved up an hour, line-up moves to 1 p.m. at the entrance to Boothbay region schools. Do not arrive earlier than 1 p.m.

    Parade Co-chairman Bryer will greet each entrant and assign them a position in the parade.

    Float judging begins at 2:30 p.m.

    Stay tuned for more information.

    If you are interested in volunteering or wish to contact the Friends' Street Parade sub-committee, send an email to wdjparade@gmail.com.

    For more information on the event, visit the new, official, permanent website for the event: www.windjammerdays.org.