BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There are big crowds in Boothbay Harbor this week, to join the annual celebration of Windjammer Days. The tall ships of Maine's historic windjammer fleet are the star attractions, of course. Seven schoo0ners were scheduled to make the "parade of sail" into the harbor Wednesday afternoon.
This is the 52nd year of Windjammer Days, and for a time last year, there was a question if the festival would go on. In the fall of 2014, the Chamber of Commerce, which had always organized Windjammer Days, decided it could no longer handle the event. But local people quickly decided they didn't want to let it go, so they organized a new, non-profit group called "Friends of Windjammer Days" to take over. Leaders of the Friends say the response has been outstanding. They say the group has over 70 active members, plus other volunteers, raised more than $30,000 to cover costs, and the 2013 festival is happening.
Windjammer Days is important to the area, organizers say, because it gives a kind of jump-start to summer. June is typically a slow tourist month, so Windjammer Days brings people to town during the week prior to the Fourth of July, which is when tourist time really starts. The festival is also popular with many Maine people, who like the chance to make a day trip to Boothbay Harbor before most of the out-of-state tourists arrive.
Organizers say they followed the traditional blueprint for the festival this year, but that next year they hope to add more events and extend Windjammer Days to cover a full week.