Heritage festival to celebrate life on bay

Annual event begins Saturday in Annapolis

On The Water

Watersports in Anne Arundel County

April 27, 2005|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

The fourth annual Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival will kick off Saturday in downtown Annapolis with an interscholastic regatta off the dock at the Naval Academy.

The festival, designed to show off a range of activities from around the Chesapeake Bay, will run through Sunday. "I think it's all about linking the Chesapeake Bay to the average person who wants to experience all the different parts of it," said Clare G. Vanderbeek, the festival's executive director.

Besides the regatta, which will feature 11 teams representing high schools around Annapolis, the first day is scheduled to include the Naval Academy band and big band performances and several pirate-themed activities for children. The Saturday events will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The second day is scheduled to feature more music, a boat docking contest for area watermen and "a blessing of the fleet" in which a good summer will be wished for all vessels.

A parade of power and sailboats will follow the blessing. Afterward, Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer is scheduled to announce inductees to the Maritime Hall of Fame. The Sunday activities will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Vanderbeek said she expects the boat-docking contest to be a highlight. She said area watermen would race to back their commercial crabbing and fishing vessels into the tight slips at the City Dock as quickly as possible.

"It's pretty exciting," she said.

Anne Arundel County's charter boat operators also plan to hold their first industry show at the festival.

Boat owners said they hope the show, scheduled to feature 11 vessels, will debunk any notion that boats-for-hire serve only the rich.

Charter operators said the vessels on display would range from 21-foot sailboats to a 75-foot schooner.

Booths on display both days will educate children on the mechanics of boating, harvesting of seafood, the history of nearby lighthouses and other topics.

Vanderbeek said she hopes the festival will attract 5,000 people, which would double the attendance of last year, when rain dampened the proceedings.

"But even if it rains, people should come," she said. "Wear a yellow slicker. We'll be there."

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