Wednesday, November 30
Follow us

A Celebration In Greenport

THE 26TH ANNUAL MARITIME FESTIVAL is FUN FOR EVERYONE! by Ruth Thomas

Greenport, originally a major fishing and whaling port, was settled in 1682 and became an incorporated village in 1838. Now a quaint seaside resort town, with fine dining, shopping, galleries, boating, and fishing, Greenport is a charming place to relax and have fun. On September 25-27, experience the 26th Annual Maritime Festival, sponsored by the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation, co-chaired by Linda Kessler and Arlene Klein. Enjoy food and crafts, live music, pirate shows, classic boats, a parade featuring mermaids, and much more. Attracting over 40,000 people annually, it is a wonderful celebration of Greenport’s nautical history.

A Land & Sea Gala on Friday, September 25, from 6-9 p.m. kicks off the Maritime Festival with a fundraising benefit co-chaired by Sarah Phillips Loth and Mary Herrick, featuring food, drink, and a silent auction. Local restaurants participate in providing superb fare. Tickets are required and all donations go to support the educational programs at the East End Museum and Marine Foundation, and “Bug Light,” the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, owned by the museum.

On Saturday, September 26, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. there are events taking place throughout Greenport, Mitchell Park, and the Marina. The festivities begin with the traditional Blessing of the Oyster Fleet at the Railroad Dock, for a safe and prosperous season, at 10 a.m. Then observe the Opening Day Parade and Blessing of the Waters beginning at 11 a.m. down Main Street heading to Front Street and ending at Mitchell Park Marina at noon. Local officials including Greenport Mayor George W. Hubbard Jr., the Greenport Village Trustees, along with the local fire department will be in attendance. This year’s Person of Honor is Pat Mundus, the first female Grand Marshal of the Maritime Festival Parade. Pat Mundus, a ship captain and graduate of SUNY Maritime College, is the daughter of legendary Montauk shark fisherman Frank Mundus. Pat recently made Greenport her home and runs East End Charters, a sailing charter company now based in Greenport.

The Merry Merfolk Parade,” will also participate for the third year in the Opening Day Parade, planned by local artist Caroline Waloski of The Sirens’ Song Gallery in Greenport. This free, fun event is for children of all ages 1-100! The Mermaid Queen rides her Rowboat float surrounded by up to 60 contestants marching alongside, dressed up as their favorite sea creature or mermaid. Prizes for all at the Awards Ceremony and Luncheon following directly afterwards at Scrimshaw Restaurant. Donations will support Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County’s “Back to the Bays” Program. Registration required.

Following the parade is “Ye Pyrate Brotherhood Show” featuring a Pirate Troop. Then view a Flyboarding demonstration from FlyboardLI, the latest trend in extreme water sports; both events are also featured on Sunday. Watch the Kayak Derby boat race on the waterfront. Take a sunset sail to “Bug” Lighthouse featuring a Cruise and Tour, repeated again on Sunday. From 6-9 p.m. listen to live music at Mitchell Park Amphitheater and from 7:30-9 p.m. see original film screenings of Greenport at the Greenport Cinema, featuring this year’s Grand Marshal Pat Mundas.

On Sunday, September 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. events will also take place throughout Greenport, Mitchell Park, and the Marina. At Front Street Station, between 9-10:30 a.m., children and adults can delight in Paul Drum’s Breakfast Fundraiser: A Mermaid and Pirate Experience. All proceeds will go to the Paul Drum Nautical Education Fund. Then from 1-3 p.m., kids can participate in a Snapper Fishing Contest at the Railroad Dock. At 4 p.m., join in the Festival Raffle Drawings at Mitchell Park Amphitheater to benefit Eastern Long Island Hospital. At 5 p.m. the festival will close.

Linda Kessler reflects, “The Maritime Festival has recently embraced the trend of keeping the focus local, mainly on Greenport, with local artisans from around Long Island and the Tri-State area.” Vendors are predominantly local featuring local artisans and local food sources. 80% of the goods are handmade by local vendors. Some local vendors participating include, Widows Whole Oyster Farm in Greenport, A Taste of the North Fork in Southold, and Nofo Crunch Granola from Mattituck. Local bands also provide music, featuring blues singer, Bruce MacDonald of Jamesport, and Points East – an acoustic father, son, and daughter trio based out of Southold. The local merchants of Greenport are a vital part of the festival and now vendors are only allowed in certain parts of town so local merchants can present their wares on outside tables in front of their stores. 90% of the local merchants are either members of the museum or sponsors due to the changes made a few years ago in the structure of the festival. Linda remarks, “This hand-in-hand support creates a community bond. It is a merchant and local community home-based event, not your typical fair.”

The Maritime Festival is not only a fun event, but donations support “Bug Light” and the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation. The museum sponsors educational programs on aquaculture and protecting our waters. It includes a gift shop, aquarium, local memorabilia, and exhibits featuring Greenport’s heritage as an oystering, whaling, and shipbuilding village. Enjoy the Maritime Festival and at the same time become a steward of our precious marine environment.