The countdown has started, as of Sunday there were only 18 days left until Wiscasset’s second annual Schoonerfest to be held Aug. 18 through the 21.
“It’s just been crazy busy but things are really starting to come together for us,” Peter Wells of Federal Street said when he sat down for a recent interview with the Wiscasset Newspaper. Wells is chairing the event’s steering committee and one of the founding members of the four-day celebration to Wiscasset’s seafaring past. Schoonerfest 2022 is co-sponsored by the Wiscasset Creative Alliance, a non-profit group and the town’s parks and recreation department.
“We’re changing things up a bit from last year. For one, there’s going to be lots more free music for people to enjoy and not just on the town common but at several other venues downtown,” he said. On Thursday, Aug. 18, the first day of Schoonerfest from noon until 4 p.m., In The Clover located on the corner of Main and Middle streets will host four different entertainers who will be playing Celtic melodies, Irish folk and Classical music outdoors in the pagoda garden behind the store. The following afternoon from noon to 2 the Nickels-Sortwell House on the corner of Main and Federal streets will host several different musicians in their sunroom. More live music can be heard on the Creamery Pier and on stage at the Town Landing where there will be food trucks, oysters and a beer and wine tent.
“Another new thing is we’ll have members of the Colonial Maine Living History Association here for the weekend. They’ll be dressed in full 18th century costume and be circulating downtown and on the waterfront,” continued Wells. “A few of them will also be holding a small encampment on the Town Common in front of the courthouse.
A highlight will be the return of the schooner When and If which was built here in Wiscasset for General George Patton. She’s scheduled to arrive to a booming cannon salute around midday Thursday, Aug. 18. The schooner Tyrone is set to arrive the following day, also to a cannon salute.
For years people associated Wiscasset with its old schooners, the Hesper and Luther Little, which were left grounded on the waterfront for decades before they were finally broken up and removed. “A lot of people still remember and ask about the old ships,” said Wells. “They’re gone but we have a plan to bring them back virtually during Schoonerfest with something called ‘augmented reality.’ We’ve hired Craig Wilson of Portland, Oregon, to create an activation code that people can use their iPhone or iPad to access and create a virtual image of the Luther Little and Hesper. A sign with the activation code and how to use it will be on the town pier facing the mudflat where the ships were left beached. I think people are going to be fascinated by it. I know I am.”
Parks and rec is hosting a number of Schoonerfest events, kids’ games at the town landing including facepainting, a Bail Bucket Race and Lobster Cornhole. There’s also downtown geocaching, a triathlon and rowing races in the harbor.
“We’re hoping the newspapers and other media might mention that this four-day event is entirely free and geared for people of all ages. The only thing anyone has to pay for is food, drinks, or if they want to tour one of the schooners, or take part on one of the harbor cruises,” said Wells. He added Schoonerfest is almost entirely organized and run by community volunteers.
Other steering committee members include co-chair Terry Heller, David Pope, Jorge Pena, Jamie Beaton, Dan Watts, Larry and Jane Flowers, John Hendrickson and Betsey Kyle. To learn more about Schoonerfest visit wiscassetschoonerfest.com, or make it a point to pickup one of Schoonerfest 2022 informational brochures. There also posters advertising the celebration and banner will soon appear on the downtown lampposts.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Wells.
Schoonerfest 2022 major sponsors include: The First National Bank, Ames TrueValue, Dead River Company, Seal-It Insulation Systems, Dunham Reality, J. Edward Knight Insurance, Fogg Art, Maine Tasting Center, Norm’s Used Cars, Chewonki Campgrounds, Big Barn Coffee and Bob Bond & Associates.