Thea’s Park and the Foss Waterway Seaport will be buzzing with activity the weekend of Aug. 24 and 25 during the 21st annual Maritime Fest. For two days this free, family-friendly and genuinely fun celebration will focus on what makes Tacoma tick – its working waterfront that has shaped and sustained the city since the late 19th century.
Each day of the fest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will feature something for everyone: interesting and educational activities, music, food of many varieties, Tall Ship cannon battles, captain’s seminars, a Kid’s Zone, and much more.
Event Director Sue Schaeffer said festival-goers will notice an increased number and variety of food options. “We’ve really changed up the food this year,” she said. “We have three times as many (options) – from crepes, barbecue and sushi to traditional fair food, ice cream and frozen yogurt. I really wanted to have a variety and cover all the bases.” There will also be shaved ice, elephant ears, Mediterranean cuisine…enough choices to get an appetite going just thinking about it.
Schaeffer said other highlights include the tug ballet/dance on water, hydrofoil flight demonstrations from the International Hydrofoil Society, and the Tacoma Women’s Sailing Association with their information booth and boat to tour.
The Knights of Veritas will be hosting an interactive medieval-period history pavilion this year with an exhibit of replica arms and armor that visitors can handle and authenticated medieval antiquities on display – and handgonne (hand held canon) demonstrations will happen throughout the day.
The Kid's Zone looks to be a perfect place for the young and young-at-heart with its Big Purple Slide, period games with Fort Nisqually, knot and bracelet making with the Sea Scouts, Daffodil Princesses on Saturday and train rides at Tacoma Rail also on Saturday.
All around the festival area there will be dozens of local merchants selling their sea-faring swag, plus informational booths and other such attractions to browse-and-buy. Things to do will be abundant – the Sea Scouts sailboat races, a catch and release tank (International Longshore and Warehouse Union), a touch tank on Saturday (Harbor Wild Watch), boat building for kids (Tacoma Community Boat Builders and Vigor Marine), cannon battles (Grays Harbor Historical Society), tour of Port of Tacoma on Sunday via Argosy Cruises, and opportunities to tour many ships such as the Charles N. Curtis, Hawaiian Chieftan, Lady Washington, Odyssey, Yankee Clipper and Thea Belle.
Seminars will be held for captains, crews, and those just curious on various nautical topics. Presenters include Nancy Erley, who led two voyages around the world; Wendy Hinman speaking on “Living Without Refrigeration” and “Keeping Your Relationship Off the Rocks” on how balance diverse personalities and needs aboard; author and maritime historian Chuck Fowler speaking on tall ships and tugboats on Puget Sound; and Skip Anderson on what it takes to earn your captain’s license.
A very popular event is the Quick & Dirty Boat Building competition in which teams of two to three people have six hours and a selection of materials to build their floating devices and then put them to the test in a speed race. Boats are also judged on categories such as appearance, seaworthiness, and originality. The highest scoring boat will be awarded a stunning Grand Prize Trophy that will be displayed at the Foss Waterway Seaport Working Waterfront Maritime Museum until next year. Proceeds from this event benefit the Youth Marine Foundation.
Everything about Maritime Fest ’13 can be found at http://www.maritimefest.org. Check out the new look and logo, and the new bandanas, T-shirts and tank tops all courtesy of Maritime Fest’s Creative and Marketing Director Athena Renee of Court & Custom Design House.