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HarborFest In Sag Harbor: Always A Whale Of A Good Time

Originally Posted: September 13, 2011


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The windmill at the beginning of Long Wharf welcomes visitors to the annual Sag Harbor HarborFest. (Eileen Casey)

Detective Proctor of the Sag Harbor Village Police is all smiles. (Joe Strand)

Sag Harbor - The annual HarborFest was held in Sag Harbor this past weekend, and attendees had the pleasure of observing a parade, classic boat displays, observing Coast Guard inspections and knot tying, a tug-of-war, dive demonstrations, and observing or competing in the legendary whaleboat races, a tradition started with John Steinbeck, and others, for the 'Old Whalers Festival,' as the event was known in the 1960s.

This annual celebration offered something for everyone, from vendors lined up along Long Wharf offering art, jewelry, food and other items, to face painting, clowns, antique appraisals, story time for children at the John Jermain Library, free boat inspections, drawing at the Custom House, historic walking tour of Eastville, corn shucking contest, tour of the Old Burying Ground, live music, and so much more - three days might not be enough to celebrate this whaling community founded in the mid-1600s, and its rich history.

Competition is part of the annual festival, whether on land or water, as Will Millender won the second annual Bay Burger Lobster Roll eating contest (by consuming more than seven lobster rolls in less than 10 minutes). Peter Ambrose took home first place in the clam shucking contest, and the Clam Chowder Contest brought first place to Dockside for white, and Dockhouse for red.

Three boats with four members each vie to be the first to lunge their harpoon. (Joe Strand)


The WhaleBoat races indeed bring out the competitive spirit of local business owners, employees and others who hit the water in a dory for four, row around a large, fake white whale, harpoon said whale (with a plunger) and race back to shore. Team Whalers took the Whalers Cup for the men's team and Sag Harbor Liquors' team won in the women's competition. Kudos and bragging rights were hard earned by all.

Organized by the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce, this year's Grand Marshal was Jack Tagliasacchi, owner of Il Cappuccino (home of the famous garlic knots), who is also an original member of the Chamber.

Vendors offered a myriad of items on Long Wharf. (Eileen Casey)

With live music, including some salty sea chanteys, from Jim Turner, John Coor, and others, laughter could be heard ringing the air on a beautiful September weekend in Sag Harbor, where everyone came to enjoy.

Local organizations were on hand to provide information, including Save Sag Harbor; the Eastville Community Historical Society of Sag Harbor, with Treasurer Joanne Carter and President Jackie Vaughn; the upcoming Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (September 23 through September 25), announced by founder Christopher J. Gervais; the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center; local artist Terry Elkins raising awareness for restoration of the Cedar Point Lighthouse; animal rescue shelters, and others, reminding all of us to give back and get involved.

The celebration of HarborFest concluded on Sunday evening with a film screening of "Flight 93" at the Bay Street Theatre in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The events of that tragic day were not forgotten in a community that has triumphed decade after decade, and whose citizens and guests remembered and realized that as life goes on, perhaps so too can the simple pleasure of a whaleboat race and a tasty lobster roll.

It's a long, hard row back to shore. (Joe Strand)




Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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Guest (Sybil Christopher) from Sag harbor says::
You forgot to mention Joyous Garde which played continuously At the Bay street theatre.Entrance was free.
Sep 15, 2011 5:19 pm

 

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