Downrigging Weekend ship W

Take the family to Downrigging Weekend, one of the largest annual Tall Ship and wooden boat festivals on the East Coast Oct. 28-30, 2016 in Chestertown.

Downrigging Weekend ship WOriginally established to mark the end of the schooner SULTANA’s sailing season, Sultana Downrigging Weekend has grown to become a celebration of maritime culture, wooden boats and everything that makes the Chesapeake Bay great.

The event will feature a waterfront packed with ships, schooners and wooden boats; fireworks; performances by world-class musicians; lectures by nationally recognized authors and filmmakers; opportunities to go sailing as part of a fleet of “Tall Ships;” and the chance to spend the weekend in one of America’s best preserved historic seaports.

There will be something for everyone in the family. For the first time Dock Dogs competitions will be held both days — with dogs leaping off the docks.

Children’s activities in the new Sultana Education Center Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. include: building a model ship and sailing it, seeing animals from Scales & Tales, and checking out the National Park Service Mobil Ranger Van — with hands-on activities.

Those interested in sailing on a tall ship have four opportunities to voyage out onto the waters of the Chester River on board their choice of seven of the visiting vessels. All four sails will feature the entire Downrigging Weekend fleet loosening their canvas and proceeding under sail-power alone. Ticket prices range from $25-$55 per person. Children younger than 5 years are not permitted to sail. Reservations for the sails are required and are selling out fast. To make a reservation visit the Downrigging Weekend website.

There will also be free deck tours of some of the visiting ships Friday, noon-2 p.m.; Saturday, 9-10 a.m.; and Downrigging fireworksWSunday, 11 a.m.-noon. Children must be accompanied by and adults and flat-soled shoes with good traction are recommended.

A fireworks show will take place Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. and will be visible along the entire Chestertown waterfront. The tall ships will be illuminated Friday and Saturday nights from dusk to 9 p.m.

For more details on the events of the weekend including a full schedule visit the Downrigging Weekend website.

 Photo top: The Bow of Delaware’s State Ship KALMAR NYCKEL, photo by Chris Cerino

Downrigging Weekend Fireworks, photo by Michael Wootton