Greenport Maritime Festival Celebrates 175th Birthday of Village

East End Seaport Museum
East End Seaport Museum

To celebrate the 175th Anniversary of Greenport’s incorporation as a village, the theme of this year’s Maritime Festival is “Land & Sea,” with a more focused emphasis on the local fishermen, farmers, restaurants, vineyards, craftsmen and artists displaying their wares. The Greenport Maritime Festival will be hosted by the East End Seaport & Marine Foundation in partnership with the Village of Greenport.

“The Festival will close down the main streets to allow for unobstructed browsing of the historic shops, parks and marina,” says Festival and East End Seaport Chairman Ron Breuer. “It attracts over 40,000 people and this year features some perennial favorites and some new events.”

There will be visits by tall ships—last year saw the final docking in Greenport of The Bounty, the magnificent tall ship seen in the 1962 Marlon Brando film Mutiny on the Bounty and in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, that was sunk in the Atlantic by Hurricane Sandy.

“This year will have ships from the Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, and our new vintage Fireboat will be out in the bay shooting water,” adds Breuer. The ships will be docked at Mitchell Park Marina’s fixed piers and will be open for viewing, tours and sailaways from approximately 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

There will be nautical arts and crafts, classic wooden boats, many activities for children and families, music, pirate shows, local produce and seafood, wines and craft beer, fireworks, and visits to Bug Light, the lighthouse.

An information booth will be located in Mitchell Park.

This year, in celebrating Greenport Village and the East End’s “Land & Sea,” visitors can see the “Sea” part at the Maritime Museum. It boasts an array of exhibits on the maritime heritage of the area, including displays on the Greenport menhaden fishing industry, the oyster industry, rare lighthouse lenses, a model ship of the USS Ohio, and more.

The “Land” heritage can be found at the Railroad Museum, along with the local blacksmith shop. Greenport’s historic 1920s carousel is always a favorite for kids looking to catch the brass ring and get another ride. Housed in its own glass enclosed pavilion on the bay, the carousel of hand painted wooden horses has been featured in The New York Times.

Saturday will host an Opening Day Parade featuring Jewel the Mermaid, the Long Island Pipe Band and a Blessing of the Waters. Captain Kidd’s Craft Alley will include roaming pirates to liven up the events. There will be children’s storytelling, and a plein air art show.

One thing that will be missing this year is the chowder contest. Organizers want to highlight Greenport’s legacy as an oystering community, so instead local oyster farmers will shuck hundreds of oysters—and clams—for the two-day festival, which visitors can pair with local wines or beers. Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, featuring craft beers made in Greenport’s former firehouse, has created a special stout beer that goes great with shellfish.Along with the shucking will be an exhibit detailing the village’s days as a major oystering hub at the turn of the century with as many as 14 oyster-processing companies operating out of the village.

Also new this year are children’s shows, a pie-baking competition and the “merfolk contest,” a costume competition in which children ages 5–12 will dress up as mermaids or Poseidon for the annual parade. “We will also have live music all day both days and fireworks at 9 p.m. Saturday,” Breuer adds.

A Taste of Greenport kicks things off Friday night, featuring fare from local restaurants including Noah’s, the new Blue Duck Bakery Cafe, Scrimshaw Restaurant and many more, setting the tone for a weekend that will immerse everyone involved in what makes the local scene so special.

“The festival has now become more intensely local,” says Breuer “using only area vendors and exhibitors, which means no cheap mass-produced goods. Our quality vendors include local glass blowers, woodcarvers, and handmade jewelry. There will be things to do and see you can’t find at any other festival.

The 2013 Land & Sea Maritime Festival in  Greenport, runs from September 20 to 22, offering free admission and free street parking. More info at or call 631-477-2100.

The Bounty tallship last docked in Greenport.
The Bounty tallship last docked in Greenport.

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