The Fishermen’s Festival in Boothbay Harbor is all about celebrating the working fishermen of Maine. Activities and competitions during the three-day event will demonstrate skills and offer some great entertainment for spectators and participants.

“Come and join us and have a good time. I guarantee you’ll have a lot of laughs,” said Brenda Blackman, co-chair of this year’s event.

The 37-year-old festival has featured the trap-hauling competition since the beginning. It’s interesting to watch, but hard work for the competitors.

“With a captain and stern man, they race down the ramp and untie their boats and go to the string of traps,” Blackman explained. “Then they haul the traps, bait and reset them, and then return to the dock and race back up the ramp.

“This event really opens your eyes into what lobstermen do on a daily basis. They go out to haul and bait up to 700 traps every week.”

According to Blackman, the best place to watch is by the park at Fisherman’s Wharf.

Lobster-crate running, which starts at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, is sure to prompt some giggles.

It is an all-ages competition that requires running over as many traps, strung in the water between two docks, as possible in three minutes without falling. As spectators have seen in years past, the older contestants are not always as successful as the younger ones.

“The youngest (competitor) was 6 years old and didn’t fall. Some kids are willing and able and just go for it. The oldest person was in his mid-50s, I think, but he had an oops moment and didn’t make it,” Blackman said.

For artistic types, a pot buoy decorating contest will be held Saturday. Artists of any age can purchase a buoy for $5 at First Bank in Boothbay Harbor this week. Entrants can drop off their artistically styled buoy (decorating to be done at home) at the waterfront on Saturday morning for judging. There is a $1 donation required to vote, with all proceeds going to the Fishermen’s Memorial Fund. Winners will be announced at noon Saturday.

Other events to benefit the memorial fund include the Shrimp Princess Pageant at 7 p.m. Friday at Boothbay Regional High School and the fish fry lunch at noon Saturday at the Boothbay Lobster Wharf.

“After the fish fry people hang out to talk and listen to stories from the fishermen. You can meet a lot of fishermen at the dock at that time to listen to their stories,” Blackman said.

There’s plenty more on Saturday, including a dory bailing competition at 10:30 a.m. and a tug of war at 11:15.

On Sunday, a memorial service and blessing of the fleet will be held at Fisherman’s Memorial Park. Participating boats will gather at Harbor Island. While the bells are ringing, a minister will bless each vessel as it approaches the docks.

 

Staff Writer Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 822-4079 or at:

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