FOLKS WATCH AS FLAGS ARE RAISED above The Wyoming replica on Community Day last year at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. The replica is a to-scale representation of the foundation and masts of The Wyoming, the largest ship built at the former Percy & Small Shipyard, and stands in the center of the museum’s lawn.

FOLKS WATCH AS FLAGS ARE RAISED above The Wyoming replica on Community Day last year at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. The replica is a to-scale representation of the foundation and masts of The Wyoming, the largest ship built at the former Percy & Small Shipyard, and stands in the center of the museum’s lawn.

BATH

THE MARY E is seen on her arrival to Maine Maritime Museum in Bath on April 24 in the above Times Record file photo. The schooner will be out of water and available for tours and shipbuilding lessons on Community Day. Below, folks gather at the docks to catch the ferry at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath during last year’s Community Day in a photo provided by the museum.

THE MARY E is seen on her arrival to Maine Maritime Museum in Bath on April 24 in the above Times Record file photo. The schooner will be out of water and available for tours and shipbuilding lessons on Community Day. Below, folks gather at the docks to catch the ferry at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath during last year’s Community Day in a photo provided by the museum.

Maine Maritime Museum is kicking off its summer season Saturday with its annual Community Day celebration.

 

 

The Community Day event marks the first boat cruises of the season, the raising of flags above The Wyoming replica and — new this year — the start of renovations aboard the Mary E, the schooner acquired by the museum late last year. The ship, which is the oldest known Maine-built fishing vessel still intact, sailed from Pelham, New York to Bath last month.

“Even though we’re open year round, Community Day always ramps things up,” said Jason Morin, director of public programs at MMM. “It’s really the start to our entire season. We usually have Community Day on Memorial Day weekend, but we’ve seen folks starting to come out a little earlier in the year lately.”

The museum will offer free admission Saturday, as well as half price boat tours. MMM is increasing its number of lighthouse tours this year to four, and increasing the length of the Lighthouse Lovers tour, which embarks for the first time Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

“It’s a great chance to see a number of the lighthouses in the Midcoast,” said Morin.

On dry land, folks will be able to watch shipbuilding demonstrations aboard the Mary E, which will be located in the pavilion by the docks.

“There will be some demonstrations using hand augers to bore into the hull, stuff like that,” said Morin. “It’s worth it just to come by and see this amazing ship.”

Kurt Spiridakis, MMM’s resident shipwright who was aboard the Mary E on the sail up from New York, will be heading up the demonstrations.

“Anywhere you are on the shipyard, you’ll be able to look over and see the Mary E,” said Spiridakis. “I’m looking forward to seeing Maine Maritime again having a dynamic, working shipyard for visitors to see and understand the history that is represented in our shipyard.”

Morin said that the central feature of Community Day will be the flag raising that takes place at noon at The Wyoming — a to-scale metallic replica of beams and masts representing the largest ship built at the Percy & Small Shipyard, which was located on MMM’s current grounds in the early 20th Century. The replica sits at the center of the shipyard.

“Because it’s Community Day, we’ve decided to honor businesses and organizations throughout Bath by having them each raise a flag above the ship,” said Morin.

Businesses and organizations taking part include Patten Free Library, Bath Area Family YMCA, Sagadahoc Preservation Inc., Maine Street Bath, RSU 1 and first responders from both the Bath City Police Department and Bath Fire & Rescue.

“Each group will represent one of the masts and help raise the flags,” said Morin. “This is the first time we’ve done it this way to signify the community.”

When all the flags are raised, Morin will light the cannon that overlooks the Kennebec River and fire one shot. The cannon will not fire an actual cannonball, but will use pressurized black powder to fire out a wad of oakum, which Morin described as a “loose, fibrous material that comes apart within a few feet of the cannon.”

“Firing the cannon requires a lot of procedures and protocol, and ear plugs,” said Morin. “We create a little back pressure, light the fuse, and off she goes.”

Morin said he has been firing the cannon on Community Day for the past few years.

Other activities include face painting for children and a lighthouse craft show, which Morin said should prime people for the June opening of MMM’s new Into the Lantern lighthouse exhibit in June.

“Community Day should be a lot of fun,” said Morin. “Hopefully a lot of people come out and enjoy what this museum has to offer. Bath is the city of ships, and that is really our focus here at the museum. We feel we are kind of the central hub as far as Bath’s history goes.”

Maine Maritime Museum’s Community Day starts Saturday at 11 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. Admission is free.

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