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Why you should get your boat ready and come stay with us during the last week of June

Windjammer Days is the kick off event to summer in the Boothbay Harbor Region but it’s not the most popular boating week as the last week of June is still a little early in these parts. Most of us are still tinkering with our boats getting them ready for the holiday weekend. However, this festival offers so much small town charm, I am here to entice you to visit.

Boothbay Harbor Windjammer Days

Boothbay Harbor’s Windjammer Days is in its 62nd year and I have shared in 40 of those festivals. During my college summers, I have fond memories of being out in boats circling the majestic schooners as they paraded into the harbor and all too often getting a scolding from the Coast Guard for being in the way. Later when our children were little, sharing in the street parade and fireworks filled my heart with nostalgia as I got to relive memories through their wide eyes. I delighted in their giggles as they watched the pirates perform on the pier and as they cheered on their friends carrying smelly fish in the relay race.


Harbor Aglow - Boothbay Harbor Marina

Today as owner of the Boothbay Harbor Marina, I get to give back to my beloved festival hosting a schooner or two to stay with us and by volunteering on committees. I even got to establish an event. The Lighted Boat Parade (now called Harbor Aglow) is in its 9th year. While I have passed the baton of leadership, I am delighted to still sit on the Harbor Aglow committee and help out. Of course I am biased to which event during this week long festival is the most enjoyable, but those captains who choose to decorate their boats and circle the harbor twice as the evening is winding down bring such joy to the spectators in town. Their effort is commendable. The footbridge is typically shoulder to shoulder with happy onlookers. Restaurant decks pour out diners who cheer on the vessels. Judging for the parade is done right at the marina and we invite all our guests to join in the fun and fill out a ballet. As long as the weather holds, it is truly a magical night. My second favorite event is the

Vintage Boat Parade from Boothbay Harbor Marina

Vintage Boat Parade and Pier Party. It always amazes me how many antique boats show up for this occasion. They parade by the marina and around the harbor many of them landing at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard for the after party. There spectators can admire the classic boats up close while enjoying a stunning spread of appetizers put on by BHRG Catering (a fusion of fine cuisine from the Boathouse Bistro, Mine Oyster, and Wharf Street). There’s live music and a full bar all set in the backdrop of a historic shipyard. It does not get anymore coastal Maine than this. New this year, vintage cars will join the line up of vintage boats at the Shipyard.


The Shipyard at Bristol Marine Boothbay Harbor

This year the festival is honoring boat builders of the region. The legacy of shipbuilding here goes all the way back to the 18th century. Passed on from generation to generation, the construction of vessels runs deep in the blood here. Local boat builder honorees are invited to a public meet and greet at the Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort on Monday, June 24 from 3:30-5 pm where you can chat with them and hear their captivating stories.


The week long festivities provides something for everyone. It’s smalltown stuff like a rock skipping contest and a tug of war across the harbor, but it expresses the kind of enchantment that reminds us to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life while making memories with family and friends. Windjammer Days can also provide great lessons to share with kids.

Windjammer Days Pancake Breakfast

The fire department sponsors a pancake breakfast on Tuesday and Wednesday. As a family, we would walk from the marina to the Whale Park to start our day with a hearty meal and remind our girls that the money we are spending on their breakfast goes directly to helping the fire fighters protect all of us. The Blessing of the Fleet provides another great teachable

Blessing of the Fleet Boothbay Harbor

moment for onlookers of all ages. It’s a time to honor those who have lost their lives at sea, and pray for the safety of those who continue to earn their living on the water bringing us fresh seafood to enjoy. It is easy to forget how dangerous an occupation fishing can be. Days and/or nights are often filled with arduous labor, grueling hours and formidable weather. The Blessing of the Fleet reminds us to be grateful for our fishermen.


Windjammer Days Pirates

Midweek is the big day in Whale Park. It starts with the fire fighters breakfast and pirates milling about. There are cannon lessons and later a battle when the pirates will try and take Boothbay Harbor as they approach aboard their s/v Roos. Young pirates are recruited to

protect the harbor. Kids young and old will enjoy watching if not participating in the fun. Then stick around for the lobster eating contest which is always a hoot to watch. Pretty soon it’s time for the schooners to gather and sail into the outer harbor. The best way to see them is out on the water either in your own boat or on one of the many charters. It's so much

Windjammer Days Fireworks from the Boothbay Harbor Marina

fun to be cruising around them and admiring their grandness under sail. Come back to shore for the Fish Relay races and street parade. After that it’s time for dinner and then the fireworks which you can enjoy right from the Boothbay Harbor Marina.



But wait there’s still more to the week. Artists Alley highlights our brilliant local artists and

Windjammer Days Artists Alley

craftsmen and once again I am struck by how much talent surrounds us. Much of it is connected to the sea. I am convinced it’s not just the love affair we have here with the ocean, it’s got to be something intoxicating in the sea air or maybe it runs deeper like a genetic disposition that makes us entranced by her. Whatever it is, it makes me appreciate this village of likeminded seafarers who relish in memory making events like these that warm the soul and preserve history for the next generation.


I invite you to come stay with us during the last week of June. You just might find yourself smitten with our coastal small town charm and can't help but to return year after year longing to join in the merriness.


Watching the Windjammers Boothbay Harbor Marina


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