Maritime history to be celebrated all month across North Fork

Michael Withers’ color reduction print ‘Catch of the Day’ won best in show in East End Arts’ Maritime Art Show, part of the Maritime Heritage of the North Fork Festival.

It won’t be all about pumpkins on the North Fork this October.

Mermaids, ship captains, sea shanties and the East End’s centuries-old maritime heritage will have their places, too. Throughout the month, a host of nonprofit organizations are offering maritime-themed events in Southold and Riverhead towns.

“This initiative was developed by the Long Island Arts Alliance, is being sponsored by Sea Tow and marketed by Arts Alive Long Island, to show quality and breadth of art on Long Island,” said Pat Snyder of East End Arts. “Their idea was not necessarily to encourage people to go to new events, but to show people what’s already happening.”

Given the multitude of nonprofits along the North Fork, Ms. Snyder said, marine-themed events will be plentiful this fall.

Events will also be sponsored by East End Arts, Peconic Landing, Brecknock Hall Foundation and the East End Seaport Museum & Maritime Foundation.

“We’re surrounded by water here,” Ms. Snyder said. “It’s who and where we are here on the North Fork, so visitors will be able to learn things they may not have known about us.”

While all the events are free, donations are accepted and encouraged.

The anchor for the series, she said, is the opening reception for the juried “maritime inspired” art exhibit at Brecknock Hall in Greenport from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18.

Then, from 6:30 to 7:30, sea shanty singer Frank Hendricks, a member of Stout and the New York Packet, will perform and discuss 19th-century sea shanties and work songs often sung on tall ships.

The art exhibit will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 28.

On the exhibit’s closing day, Oct. 28, maritime historian and retired naval officer Timothy Dring will give a free lecture about the Bebe-McLellan lifeboat at 1 p.m. in the Peconic Landing auditorium. Mr. Dring is the author of “American Coastal Rescue Craft: A Design History of Coastal Rescue Craft Used by the USLSS and USCG.”

If you’re looking for a more family-oriented event, Ms. Snyder recommends visiting the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund’s free Artsy, Crafty, Fun-Key Festival at the foot of Main Street in New Suffolk between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13 and 14. The festival will have unique crafts from artisans, food and music for men, women, teens and kids.

Families can also stop by the East End Seaport Museum & Maritime Foundation at the foot of Third Street in Greenport between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends through April to visit the “Art of the Sailor” exhibit. A host of local seafaring artifacts including lighthouse lenses and a fishing and oyster industry display will be on display.

History lovers will delight in three unique historical society events held throughout the month.

“Currier & Ives: Printmakers to the American People,” on view at Suffolk County Historical Society, located at 300 W. Main St. in Riverhead, includes images of clipper ships and yachts, views of lighthouses, steamships and the tragic fire at Lexington on Long Island Sound. The exhibition, which also includes a display of ship models and whaling equipment, can be seen from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays until Oct. 27.

The Oysterponds Historical Society will provide a lesson in the North Fork’s local maritime history at the Webb House on Village Lane’s Poquatuck Park in Orient. Those who visit the Webb House between 2 and 5 p.m. on Saturdays Oct. 6, 13, 20 or 27 can view a collection of artwork, documents and artifacts that tells the story of Oysterponds’ maritime heritage during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Mattituck-Laurel Historical Society will have a slide presentation on Long Island shipwrecks, led by Bob Aturi. The exhibit will include maritime artifacts from the mid-nineteenth century, as well as artifacts from shipwrecks. The free presentation’s date and time has yet to be determined, and those interested should call 298-8461.

The Sirens’ Song Gallery in Greenport is currently hosting an art exhibit called “Mermania & Other Fantasies,” on view from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday through Nov. 1, or by appointment.

Artist Caroline Waloski’s works for this exhibit were based on the theme of the mermaid as a goddess and explore the intrinsic relationship between humankind and water. Sirens’ Song Gallery is located at 516 Main St. in Greenport.

“We’re very excited,” Ms. Snyder said of this month’s array of maritime-themed events. “This is just another way to bring all these nonprofits together to benefit themselves and the whole North Fork.”

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