Greenport Maritime Festival brought 40,000 to village

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Cutchogue residents Karen Nicholson and Courtney Meringer of the New Challenge team strain at the oars during Sunday’s whaleboat race.

Greenport Maritime Festival organizers are estimating that about 40,000 people visited the village this past weekend for the 23rd annual festival, which strived to be more about ships and the sea than in previous years.

The event, an annual fundraiser for the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation, featured tall ships, antique boats and iceboats, as well as downtown vendors and family activities.

East End Seaport Museum chairman Ronald Breuer said he believed the festival’s success was a result of his group working closely with village officials and local businesses to plan “one of the best years yet.”

“In general, we were very happy with the turnout,” Mr. Breuer said. “It shows we’re moving in the right direction with trying to get back to more of our nautical roots.”

Visitors were able to tour several tall ships at Mitchell Park Marina, including the Privateer Lynx, a replica of a historic ship from the War of 1812; the U.S. Coast Guard’s barque Eagle; and the U.S. Coast Guard’s barque Zaida, one of the last remaining yachts from the all-volunteer Picket Patrol — known as the “Hooligan Navy” — that patrolled the waters off of Long Island during World War II.

Throughout the two-day festival, 35 classic boats and iceboats — many antique — were also on display in the park.

Greenport Business Improvement District president Peter Clarke said he believes the museum’s decision to promote downtown stores this year as opposed to hiring outside food vendors as it had in the past helped make the festival more of a community event.

“The maritime focus was very positive,” Mr. Clarke said. “It’s what Greenport is all about.”

Although visitors wined and dined downtown, no rowdiness was reported at the festival.

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said no arrests, emergencies, accidents or other incidents were reported over the weekend. The only issues police had to deal with were related to parking, he said.

Mr. Breuer said the festival was well-received because it also focused on family-friendly activities, including Captain Kidd’s Craft Alley, Kings of the Coast pirate shows, a Mitchell Park treasure chest and other various street events.

There were chowder, snapper-fishing and dory race contests, too.

North Fork chef John Ross was the lead judge for the chowder competition and awarded Salt Waterfront Bar and Grill in Shelter Island the first-place prize. The winner of the People’s Choice first-place award was Blue Canoe Oyster Bar and Grill, a new downtown waterfront restaurant.

Over at the fishing contest, Dougie Corazzini won first place in the 8 and under age category for catching a 5.95-ounce fish. Hannah Guenther took first in the 9-16 age group for catching a 5.23-ounce catch. Each child received a certificate of participation and prizes donated by Wego Fishing in Southold.

Sag Harbor residents Bill Martin and Ray Pettigrew won first place in the men’s dory race and Southold resident Amanda Weil and Noemi Bonazzi of Greenport won first place in the women’s category. [See below for a list of all the dory race winners].

While many people raved about the maritime event, some were less than thrilled with one of the festival’s newest attraction.

During a Village Board meeting Monday night, resident Bill Swiskey expressed his disgust with the village’s approval of Greenport Harbor Brewery’s request to have a beer garden in the park. The brewery sponsored the museum’s traditional Land and Sea reception Friday night.

Mayor David Nyce and Mr. Breuer disagreed with Mr. Swiskey’s comments and said they believed the operations went smoothly because the brewery fenced off the beer garden and hired its own security.

“I have grandchildren, so I’m very concerned about that,” Mr. Breuer said. “The majority of people enjoyed it and we’d love to have them back.”

Mr. Breuer said he’s planning an informal meeting with business owners to gather feedback about how the festival went this weekend. He said the meeting is tentatively scheduled for tonight, Sept. 27, at 6:30 p.m. The location wasn’t finalized by presstime. For more information, email [email protected].

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Results of the 22nd annual dory races

Men’s Champions: “The Whalers”
Bill Martin, Sag Harbor
Ray Pettigrew, Sag Harbor

2nd place: “Dry Run”
Ed Nicholson, Cutchogue
Amos Meringer, Cutchogue

3rd place: “Showboat”
Gegg Bucher, Jamesport
Keith Jurgens, Jamesport

Women’s Champions: “Team Grog”
Amanda Weil, Southold
Noemi Bonazzi, Greenport

2nd Place: “GMD (Greenport Mother-Daughter)”
Peggy Lauber, Greenport
Kate Criss, Greenport

3rd Place: “New Challenge”
Karen Nicholson, Cutchogue
Courtney Meringer, Cutchogue