This month was to feature the 58th year of the (Boothbay Harbor) Windjammer Days Festival. And this year marks the seventh year Friends of Windjammer Days has been directing its course. This year is also the region’s first year without a Windjammer Days, due to COVID-19.
Friends of Windjammer Days (FWJD) formed in late 2013 after Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce announced it would no longer be at the helm of the festival. The chamber board chose Friends to take the festival into the future.
In 2015, FWJD’s second year, the festival became a week-long event with the addition of a lighted boat parade, lobster eating contest, and Tug of War Across the Harbor.
The event featured five pulls and 10 teams of 10-12 people. Teams took turns pulling from the Footbridge parking lot and from the east side property of the late Steve and Margaret Branch, for a total distance of 700 feet! The tug was held at low tide. Tug team champions: Knickerbocker Group – 2015; Marden Builders – 2016; Bud Light team – 2017; and Clear Stream Construction – 2018 and 2019.
In 2016, to keep the spirit of the region’s former Fishermen’s Festival alive, FWJD added three of the Fishermen’s Festival events to Windjammer Days: the Blessing of the Fleet, Cod Fish Relay Races, and a youth talent show based on the former Shrimp Princess Pageant, but this show included girls and boys. Past winners: 2016: Miss Windjammer: Emerson Harris; 2017: Miss Windjammer: Suzie Edwards; 2018 (a tie!): Miss Windjammer: Sarah Harris and Sophia Mansfield; 2018: King of the Harbor: Spencer Pottle; and 2019: Alana LaCourse.
In 2019, to help youth be a part of the festival, the student T-shirt contest was created. That first year, eight students submitted designs for shirts. FWJD chose Boothbay Region Elementary School eighth grader Grace Campbell’s. In 2020, over 40 students in grades two through 12 submitted designs. The committee chose BRES fifth grader Chau Nguyen’s. With the festival canceled, the light blue T-shirts were being sold at the Gimbels’ store The Smiling Cow.
This year’s festival was to be held June 21-29 and was billed as Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days & Tall Ships Festival. For this bicentennial year, FWJD had gone all out to bring new ships to the event, including the Oliver Hazard Perry, Fair Jeanne and When & If, as well as familiar schooners Lynx and Alert. And, 2020 was also the year the Victory Chimes was returning for Windjammer Days after an absence of about 15 years.
Other ships expected were Heritage, American Eagle, Eastwind, Agness & Dell, Ardelle, Ernestina-Morrissey, Lewis H. Story, Lazy Jack, Mary E, True North, Tree of Life, Sycamore and Jenny Ives.
But, not to worry, Windjammer Days fans. The Festival will return in 2021, June 27-July 31. Until then, enjoy this special commemorative. And, for all things Windjammer Days, including a history of the event all the way back to the first one in 1962, visit www.boothbayharborwindjammerdays.org or Friends of Windjammer Days on Facebook.
Windjammer Days Street Parade themes and Grand Marshals
Can anyone out there fill in the few unknowns in the list?
1989 – Lighthouses of Maine –
1990 – Thank You – U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Hayes and Otto Graham
1991 – Salute to the Sea –
1992 - Family Fun – Local Special Olympians
1993 – Ode to A Lobster – Community Band and Katherine Cook
1994 – Celebrating Harbor Past Times - Bill Danforth
1995 – ? – ?
1996 – Mariner's Mardi Gras – Capts. David and Marion Dash
1997 - ? - Don Wotton
1998 – Famous Captains – Brud Pierce
1999 – Creatures of the Sea - The Yentsches/Bigelow Laboratory
2000 – Boats, Boats, Boats - Bill Danforth
2001 – Mariner's Mardi Gras – ?
2002 - Small Town Salute to Liberty – Ground Zero first responders and local emergency responders
2003 – Sailors and Sirens – Marylouise Cowan
2004 – Hook, Line & Sinker - Charlie Begin, Rusty Court and Dean Morrison
2005 – To The Rescue – Dr. John Andrews & the Boothbay Region Ambulance Service
2006 – Rogues & Wenches – Roger Duncan
2007 – High Seas Adventure – Laura Honey
2008 – Wonders of the Sea – Earle Barlow
2009 – Working Waterfront – Bud Brackett
2010 – Our Happy Harbor – Ramona Gaudette
2011 – Welcome Aboard! Going Green, Maritime Madness, Red, White & Blue and Break A Leg- Al & Becky Roberts
2012 – 50th WJD – Mary Brewer, Estelle Appel, Tim Hodgdon, Joan Rittall and George McEvoy
2013 - Our Happy Harbor, Most Nautical, Most Outrageous or Most Nostalgic – Sally “Sparkles” Bullard
2014 - Our Happy Harbor, Our Community and Maritime Heritage – Vice Admiral James B. Perkins III
2015 - Our Happy Harbor, Our Community – Arthur Webster
2016 – Our Happy Harbor – Mac Andrews
2017 – Our Happy Harbor – The Blake Brothers, Gary, Joe and Neil
2018 – Our Happy Harbor – BRHS senior Page Brown – the youngest grand marshal to date!
2019 – Our Happy Harbor - Lady Seahawks basketball team