Benefactor bypasses Maritime Fest, leaving no funds for pipe bands or fireworks

08/25/2011 2:45 AM |

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Benefactor Roy Morrow, shown after leading an impromptu parade last summer, won’t be bringing pipe bands to Greenport for this year’s Maritime Festival, so planners are exploring other options.

It’s shaping up to be a pipeless Maritime Festival this year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be other bands in the Sept. 24 parade that traditionally kicks off the annual event.

In recent years, Roy Morrow — a seasonal resident and pipe band enthusiast — has covered the cost of bringing pipe bands from surrounding communities and even Connecticut to Greenport to perform at the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation event. But this year, the money isn’t forthcoming and the foundation can’t afford to spring for the costs, according to board chairman Ted Webb.

“We’ve had festivals before without pipe bands,” Mr. Webb said.

So planners are going back to plans from previous events and looking to invite other local bands to march.

Mr. Morrow had also covered the cost of fireworks for the festival in recent years and that, too, may not happen this year, Mr. Webb said.

Mr. Morrow couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Webb promised that more maritime activities will be included in this year’s program than there have been in recent years. In response to suggestions from Village Board members, the planners have been working to enhance the maritime aspect of the festival that some said had been waning.

In addition to a five-hour lighthouse cruise that will leave at 4 p.m. aboard the Peconic Star II, planners are expecting to offer festival attendees the chance to take a boat ride out to Long Beach Bar “Bug” Lighthouse for a tour guided by Bob Allen, whose great-grandfather was a lighthouse keeper there.

The many vendors whose wares aren’t related to maritime activities will still be present along Front and Main streets, Mr. Webb said, but he explained that that’s what brings in revenue for the museum and marine foundation.

The Maritime Festival is the group’s main fundraising activity of the year. It will kick off with a reception at the museum on Friday, Sept. 23, and get into full swing with the parade on Saturday. Festivities will continue through Sunday.

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