Cue the mermaids and the pirates! The Greenport Maritime Festival is returning!
Scheduled for the weekend of September 18, this annual festival roars back from a COVID hiatus with its Friday night kickoff event, the Land & Sea Gala. The Gala will take place at the Greenport Yacht and Shipbuilding Co., located at 210 Carpenter Street in the heart of Greenport Village. VIP entry is 5:30pm; general admission 6:30pm-9:30pm and all are encouraged to dress up in their best maritime finery. Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation. The Museum features artifacts and exhibits about the diverse maritime history of the East End and especially Greenport, which served as a whaling port between 1832 and 1857. Greenport was also a major shipbuilding port during the mid-1800s and during World War II (1941-45) when a local shipbuilder built and launched a fleet of more than 50 small warships for the U.S. Navy. The Museum supports the operation of the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse located just off the coast of Orient at the entrance to the Peconic Bay’s sheltered waters. Known as the “Bug”, the original structure was built in 1870 on raised pilings which made the lighthouse look like a giant water bug from a distance. Arson destroyed the lighthouse in the 1960s; in 1989-1990, the local community banded together to restore and relaunch the beloved Bug. To this day, the Bug continues to help seafarers navigate around the hazardous sandbar between Orient Harbor and Gardiner’s Bay. To see what it’s all about, reserve a spot for the Bug Lighthouse Cruise on Saturday evening from 4:40-6:30pm. Call the Museum for details.
Without a doubt, Saturday’s highlight is the Mermaid Parade! Starting at 11am, the parade will wend its way down Main Street to Front Street. Be on the lookout for the Merry Merfolk Boat Float, as well as the usual East End parade participants: donkeys, floats, fire trucks, representatives of local fire departments and marching bands. Craft and food vendors will be selling their wares throughout the Village on both Saturday and Sunday; if you’ve got kids with you, head for Captain Kid’s Alley in Mitchell Park for games, arts & crafts and a treasure chest. The Power Squadron will be making appearances on Saturday and Sunday, as will the U.S. Coast Guard with a helicopter rescue demonstration scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Kayak races will take place behind Porto Bello restaurant and the Carousel on Saturday: set up at 2pm, races go off at 3pm. Look for high-stepping Irish dance performances on Saturday and Sunday, as well as coffee sack races. Saturday wraps up with DJ music and dancing in Mitchell Park Bandshell from 7:00-9:00pm.
Ease into Sunday with a Chowder Contest from Noon to 3pm in the Greenport Boat Yard on Carpenter Street. Spend your afternoon fishing for red snapper in the Snapper Contest. Sign up at the Mitchell Park Village Dock at 2pm; contest at 3pm. (Please note that all times and activities are subject to change dependent upon COVID-19 restrictions.)
Looking for other things to do? At any time you can visit the Tall Ship Columbia or visit the classic wooden boats and ice boats out on the docks. Or take a harbor cruise on the classic ship Glory, a completely green, solar-powered tour boat. Head to one of Greenport’s numerous restaurants or bars or browse the boutiques and shops along Main and Front Streets. Just don’t forget to wear your mermaid tail….