BELFAST — Harbor Fest, Belfast Rotary Club’s free, three-day celebration of the city’s maritime history and traditions, returns Friday, Aug. 13 through Sunday, Aug. 15. The annual festival, canceled last year because of the pandemic, will include the National Boatbuilding Challenge competition, a harborside exhibit of classic boats, tours of the Front Street Shipyard, the Come Boating! rowing regatta, the 5K “Bug Run” road race, a blueberry pancake breakfast, live music, food trucks, children’s activities and the popular Cardboard Boat Race.

“After a year off in response to public safety regulations, Belfast Harbor Fest is back with its Maine Bicentennial edition,” longtime event chairman Duke Marston said in a press release. “This is the 14th celebration, and

Completed skiffs prepare to race as part of Belfast Harbor Fest’s 2019 National Boatbuilding Challenge. Courtesy of Mickey Sirota, Belfast Rotary Club

we’ve learned a thing or three. Instead of a big tent, we’ll have smaller pavilions for each of the National Boatbuilding Challenge teams, and there may be a smaller children’s area. But people coming down to the waterfront are guaranteed a good time.”

An online benefit auction kicks off the event at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 13, to benefit the Waldo County Pet Food Pantry. Running through 9 p.m. Sunday, the “Evening By the Bay” auction will go online at charityauction.bid/belfastharborfest. Up for bid will be restaurant and other gift certificates, as well as artwork, including Joanne Parent’s “Last Light of Day,” an original oil painting chosen as the Harbor Fest’s graphic this year.

The image of a schooner in Belfast Harbor will appear in Harbor Fest publicity and posters, and on the event’s mugs, T-shirts and tote bags. Parent has donated the original 24” by 30” painting, with a value of $2,800. The artist is co-owner, with her father Neal, of the Parent Gallery at the corner of Maine and High streets in Belfast. The gallery showcases her fine art and Neal’s black and white photographs.

Saturday is anchored by the National Boatbuilding Challenge, sponsored by First National Bank, in which pairs of builders race the clock and each other to finish and race 12-foot skiffs built from scratch in less than four hours.

Their efforts follow the 5K “Bug Run” race, sponsored by First National Wealth Management, which ends at the Belfast Boathouse where the popular blueberry pancake breakfast will be held, sponsored by Nordic Aquafarms. Also happening Saturday are free Front Street Shipyard tours and demonstrations, Come Boating!’s harbor rowing regatta, music at the Steamboat Landing gazebo, food trucks and children’s activities, and a Classic Boat Show along the Harborwalk.

Belfast Harbor Fest concludes Sunday morning with the Cardboard Boat Race, sponsored by Front

“Bananas,” an entry in the 2018 Cardboard Boat Race. Courtesy of Philip G. Carthage

Street Shipyard, complete with the “Best Sinking” award, followed by a lobster bake to benefit Waldo County Habitat for Humanity.

The event’s major sponsors are First National Bank, First National Wealth Management, city of Belfast, Front Street Shipyard, Nordic Aquafarms, Downeast Credit Union, United Farmers Market, Viking Lumber, Blueberry Broadcasting, Stanley Chevrolet Buick, Robbins Lumber Company, Joanne Parent and the Maine Bicentennial Commission. For more information about Harbor Fest, go to belfastharborfest.com.