The eight boats competing in the Volvo Ocean Race will arrive in Annapolis Harbor today, after sailing from the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.
Their arrival will be one of the highlights of the Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival on City Dock, which starts at 10 a.m. today. The festival will run through Sunday, when the Volvo boats depart for the restart of the race just north of the Bay Bridge, headed to La Rochelle, France.
The Bay Bridge Walk and a waterfront festival at Sandy Point State Park, where the restart can be viewed, will also take place this weekend.
The Volvo boats are expected to arrive in Annapolis about 4 p.m. today. At 5 p.m., a bagpiper will lead the teams from the dock near Susan B. Campbell Park to the stage behind the Harbormaster's office for a welcoming ceremony, featuring remarks by state and local officials and race organizers.
At the Maritime Heritage Festival, visitors will have the chance to view a variety of boats, watch boat-building demonstrations, listen to local musicians and tour historical, children's and corporate exhibits.
"The real thrill of this particular event is the collection of traditional Chesapeake Bay-built boats that will be on display around City Dock," said Jeff Holland, director of the festival and the Annapolis Volvo Ocean Race Village.
Skipjacks and schooners, oyster-dredging boats and tall ships will be featured, including the 102-year-old Edna E. Lockwood, a bugeye schooner owned by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels that is the oldest boat on display.
The Pride of Baltimore and the tall ship The Sultana are among the other notable vessels at City Dock this weekend.
Joe Reid of Mast & Mallet in Edgewater will demonstrate traditional boat-building techniques at the festival while twin brothers Ray and Ron Russell of Russell Fabrication in Annapolis will demonstrate modern fiberglass boat-building.
Several Chesapeake Bay area musicians, including Tom Wisner and Holland's group, Them Eastport Oyster Boys, will take the stage throughout the weekend, along with poets, storytellers and authors.
"There has been a group of very talented writers and performers who over the last 20 years have dedicated their careers to celebrating the Chesapeake Bay in story and song," Holland noted. "We want people to appreciate this treasure we have. ... If something is worth writing songs about, it is worth saving."
Volvo yacht skippers will also be available to answer questions at the Skipper's Forum on the stage at 10 a.m. Saturday. A blessing of the fleet will take place at 10 a.m. Sunday. This is one of only two race starts internationally that can be seen from land.