After Friday’s torrential rain, high tide and anxiety over weather for Chestertown’s gala Downrigging Weekend, Saturday morning broke with sun silhouetting the mast and rigging of the Kalmar Nyckel, Pride of Baltimore II, Virginia, Linx and Sultana.Relief turned to celebration, and by noon the fleet of tall ships were cruising the Chester, a Halloween parade was marching down High Street, Saturday Market was in full swing, and raucous bluegrass music was pouring out of the Festival Village at the marina.
The iconic maritime weekend, the largest annual Tall Ships gathering on the East Coast, was suspended last year due to the pandemic shutdowns and this weekend was originally planned to be an abbreviated “party,” a placeholder until the State would allow larger gatherings, but the Board at Sultana Education Foundation fast-tracked planning for a full festival after getting word that larger public events could safely take place with the caveat that vaccinations were required into the tent arena.
And hundreds, if not thousands arrived throughout the day to tour and sail on the tall ships, listen to world-class musicians, lectures by nationally recognized authors and filmmakers, and attend gallery openings, ending with an amazing firework finale over the harbor.
And that was just the first day.
Today, Sunday, promises more as the festivities kick off an 10 am with classic wooden boat displays, Music Festival opening at 11 am, and tours of the tall ships before they set sail at 1 pm. For history buffs, there’s a War of 1812 Interpretative Encampment on the Custom House’s lawn and a presentation of “Native Americans of the Chesapeake Bay” and “Interactive Chesapeake Voyage: Chesapeake Through the Ages” at Sultana’s Holt Center.
And don’t miss international marine artist Marc Castelli’s new show at MassoniArt on High Street.
This video is approximately five minutes in length. For a complete schedule, please go here. Photo provided by Sultana Education Foundation.