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East End Maritime Festival Turning 30

Nicole Barylski

The festivities will launch on Friday, September 20 with the Land & Sea Gala at Greenport Yacht & Shipbuilding Co. (Photo: www.facebook.com)

The East End Seaport Museum's East End Maritime Festival is celebrating a milestone anniversary this year.

"We're highlighting our 30th Maritime Festival. We will be having our artists and craft vendors, the food trucks, and we're also having Dancing in the Park - from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, which is in addition due to it being our anniversary," Linda Kessler, event co-chair and Museum Board Treasurer, told Hamptons.com.

The festivities will launch on Friday, September 20 with the Land & Sea Gala at Greenport Yacht & Shipbuilding Co.

"We have 18 of the local favorite restaurants all doing some of their really incredible food and tastings with local wineries, distilleries, breweries," Barbara Poliwoda, Museum Executive Director, noted. "We have a live auction, silent auction, Chinese auction - we have auctions for all different types. Everybody likes to participate in that in different ways."

The evening will commence with a VIP hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by general admission from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

"People dress up in their maritime finery so you might see a mermaid walking around or flapping around," Poliwoda shared. "Men in top hats or sailor suits or sailor hats. We have a DJ and dancing and it's a lot of fun."

The Greenport-based Festival continues on Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.

The beloved Merry Merfolk Parade, presented by Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program and Sirens' Song Gallery, is among the first happenings on Saturday. "We have a new float in our parade on Saturday that involves the Merry Merfolk contest," Kessler shared. "Children dress up either as mermaids or little sailors, and that contest happens after the parade. But we have this wonderful dory that's been hand painted by Caroline Waloski. That's going to be one of the shining stars of the parade." The parade, which supports the Program's Back to the Bays Initiative, steps off from Broad Street in Greenport at 11 a.m.

"People like the snapper contest, there's kayak races, we are bringing back the Captain Kids treasure chest - where children, after they're done with activities, are given a key and they go and they attempt to open the treasure chest and once it is open, they get a prize that they get to take home with them," Kessler noted. The Capt Kids Alley will take place both days at Mitchell Park, while the kayak races are solely on Saturday, behind Porto Bello & The Carousel on the beach, with a 2 p.m. set up and 3 p.m. race. The Snapper Contest will take place on Sunday at Mitchell Park Village Dock, with a 2 p.m. sign up and 3 p.m. start.

Both Kessler and Poliwoda believe a new contest on Sunday will quickly become a festival favorite. "We're having a Chowder Fest on Sunday from 12 to 3 p.m., which is a contest for the best chowder. We're going to have two different categories: clam chowder and other. That should be a lot of fun," Kessler noted.

"People that come to the contest are the ones that judge the winner," Poliwoda added.

Additional attractions will include a USCG - Helicopter rescue demo, Coffee Sack Race, Irish Step Dancing, seaside tours, Classic Wooden Boats & Ice Boats, and more.

"We also have the Tall Ship - Columbia is coming to visit and will be in the harbor and the Mystic Whaler will be here for both days and they'll be taking people out for one-hour cruises in the harbor," Kessler said.

"It's a celebration of our nautical history. What people like most about coming to Greenport is that our village does try to embrace our heritage," Kessler relayed. "We still have working boatyards here where they build boats the old fashioned way. We have a huge oyster growing community, which is part of our history from way back that has made a wonderful resurgence in the last few years."

Proceeds from the weekend support the Museum, whose mission is "to celebrate and conserve the diverse maritime heritage of the East End of Long Island."

"The Museum will be kicking off our capital campaign. We own the Bug Light Lighthouse, so we maintain and keep it restored. She's 30 years old next year actually, so we're going to be doing some renovations," Poliwoda relayed. "A lot of the money raised will be going towards that as well."

As the Lighthouse is nearly three decades old, there's plenty to do. "We have the outside decking, we have the windows, there's sides of the wall from weathering that needs to be repaired, the restroom - we would like to make sure it's green and self sustaining," Poliwoda noted about Lighthouse restorations.

"There's a lot we would like to see done because people just really idolize the Lighthouse and want to make sure that we keep the light on," Poliwoda concluded.

For more information, visit www.eastendseaport.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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