Bringing Joy to the Harbor - The 3rd Annual Windjammer Days Lighted Boat Parade

Last Year's Winner - Blue Moon II

Last Year's Winner - Blue Moon II

The first year there were 12.  Last year, there were 22.  How many boats will there be this year remains to be seen, but the Windjammer Days Lighted Boat Parade is on track to increase its participation again this year.  This is in part thanks to its dedicated committee members who have been getting the word out.  From local fishermen to island residents, everyone is invited to join in the fun.  Last year, the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club showed their support with both a sponsorship and an impressive 86 members and families participating in 10 boats in the parade. Yacht Club and Committee Member Andy Mutch said, "BHYC is a proud sponsor of the 2017 Windjammer Days Lighted Boat Parade. We have again encouraged our members to participate in the parade with their lighted and decorated boats."

There are a couple of noteworthy changes this year for interested boaters.  Upon registration, participants will be given a number.  The number is used only for judging purposes and does not reference any kind of boat parade line order.  The assigned number should be displayed midship on the portside.  "The judges can then easily jot down the number of each boat on their ballot.  We tally all the ballots at the end and winners are notified after the parade.  We have a few prizes, but most participants are in it just for the joy it brings to the harbor,"says Kim Gillies. Registration information can be found at windjammerdays.org on the Lighted Boat Parade page.

Also new this year is a Skippers Meeting to be held at Mine Oyster on Friday, June 23 from 5:30-7 pm.  At the informal gathering, captains can pick up their registration form, hear safety tips, and size up the competition.  There is no registration fee for the Lighted Boat Parade, but the committee will be collecting Toys for Tots at the Skippers Meeting.  If you would like to contribute, you can bring an unwrapped, new toy and it will get passed along to the Marines to add to their Christmas collection. All are welcome at Mine Oyster so bring your friends and join in the fun.

Spectators can watch the Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday, July 1st at approximately 9 pm from anywhere in the harbor .  The parade comes down the west side of the harbor and head up the east. If conditions allow, the parade will circle the inner harbor twice. 

The Windjammer Days Lighted Boat Parade is grateful to its generous sponsors for their support: Lincoln Health, Sea Tow, Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club, Ocean Point Marina, Get A Gadget, Boothbay Harbor Marina, Mine Oyster, and Lobsterman's Wharf.
 

Miss Windjammer Pageant Will Not Take Place This Year Instead...

Miss Windjammer Special

Pageant director Emily Mirabile officially announced the cancellation of the 2017 Miss Windjammer Days Pageant on June 14.

The reason for the cancellation: Mirabile received two applications for this year’s event but does plan to try again next year.

“We still wanted to keep the girls – Susie Edwards and Azalea Bennett - involved and decided to go a different route,” Mirabile said. “I’m thrilled to announce that BRCTV has signed on to film and broadcast a Miss Windjammer Special.”

On Tuesday, June 20 at 3 p.m. the two young ladies will perform in the BRHS auditorium with family and friends as their audience.

Host Michael Maxim will interview the girls using questions prepared by Mirabile and given to the girls in advance so they can prepare.

Miss Windjammer 2016, Emerson Harris, will also attend and perform before passing on the title.

Following the filming judges will view and choose this year's winner.

The special will broadcast on Monday, June 26 at 6 p.m. (same date and time a live pageant had been planned) on BRCTV (Channel 7), concluding with an announcement of this year's winner.

The 2017 Miss Windjammer will then ride in the Windjammer Days Street Parade and perform in the Whale Park directly following the parade.

by Lisa Kristoff, Boothbay Register

 

A Time Change for The Blessing of the Fleet

A time to pay tribute to the men and women who have lost their lives at sea.  The annual Blessing of The Fleet is also a time to pray for the safety and prosperity of our local fishermen and women who are headed out to sea for another season.  It is our opportunity to honor and show gratitude to our fishing community.  Please join us in observing the Blessing of The Fleet which begins at 1:30 PM* on Sunday, June 25, 2017 following the memorial service at Fisherman's Memorial Park on Atlantic Avenue.

 *Please note that 1:30 pm is a time change for this event.  

Announcing the 2017 Windjammer Days Street Parade Grand Marshals

The Blake Family back row - Gary, Joe, Neil, front - the late Virgina and Fred Blake photo courtesy of the Boothbay Register

The Blake Family back row - Gary, Joe, Neil,
front - the late Virgina and Fred Blake
photo courtesy of the Boothbay Register

Each year, the Windjammer Days Street Parade kicks off the procession with a Grand Marshal. A respected tradition, this person is chosen for their strong character, sense of community, and their kindness toward others. This year there are three.

The "Blake Boys" as everyone knows them - Joe, Neil, and Gary were born and raised on Hodgdon Island in Boothbay, Maine.  Today, they all still live in pretty close proximity to each other.  Joe and his wife Brenda live on Barter's Island, Neil and his wife Sheila on Hodgdon's Island, and Gary and his wife Cathy at Boothbay Center.  

Their father, Fred Blake, established Blake's Boatyard over in West Harbor back in 1951.  The three boys spent every school vacation and summer working along side him in the Boatyard.  In 1961, Fred purchased what is now known as Pier One from Gulf Oil.  The three boys again worked along side their dad selling fuel, boats, and motors, as well as parking cars for boaters, many of them Squirrel Island residents.  They sold Boston Whalers, Makos, Grady Whites, MFG boats, and Johnson Outboard motors.  They even rented little Boston Whalers.  Gary's daughter, Amy Blake Goodwin along with her husband Dusty, who are managing the Boatyard these days shared, "To this day, I have customers who come in and tell me that they bought their first boat from Freddy and the boys back in the 60s.  It's really neat to hear those old stories."  In 1973, Fred and the boys moved all the operations back to West Harbor.  Their uncle Percy Barter who helped run the West Harbor yard would often tease them, "You said you were just going over to town one day, and you didn't come back for 12 years."

The Blake Brothers - Neil, Gary, and Joe

The Blake Brothers - Neil, Gary, and Joe

Despite working together nearly every day of their lives, the Blake Boys remain close friends even choosing to spend a lot of their free time together.  Many nights they would leave the boatyard to shower and change just to meet up again for dinner.  Family dinners were very important to the Blake brothers.  They still are today, though the family has grown so big with kids and grandchildren, it can be hard to get everyone together as often.  "A favorite family tradition to kick off the summer season," says Amy, "is our annual Father's Day dinner at Rocktide.  Every year when I would call Mary Lou for a reservation, she would laugh and ask 'How many this year?'  The last Father's Day celebration before my Grandfather Fred passed away, we managed to all sit together under that neat old train overlooking beautiful Boothbay Harbor.  It was a table for 22."

Windjammer Days Website Gets A New Look

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website!  It is ready for you to explore at www.boothbayharborwindjammerdays.org.

We hope that this new site will provide visitors an easier way to learn about all the happenings during the week of Windjammer Days in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  The festival runs from June 25 through July 1, 2017.  Take some time to enjoy all the visually stunning videos and photos.  Check out the Windjammers page which offers a short bio about each of the schooners that will be joining us.  The Schedule of Events Page has been organized both by daily events and Quick Links to allow visitors options to find the information they want easily.  

Windjammer Days is a very special festival immersed in rich history and tradition, and many of the events are offered free of charge.  If you look forward to Windjammer Days, we hope you will take a look at our Donate page which is new to our site and consider supporting us. All donations (100%) directly support the events of the festival and every little bit helps.

We would like to thank Kim Gillies, Kipp Wright, and Sarah Morley for all their work in putting this beautiful site together.

Let us know what you think of our new site.