Maritime Heritage Days will celebrate Searsport's history, potential

By Jordan Bailey | Aug 10, 2017
Photo by: Stephanie Grinnell

Searsport — Four days of festivities to celebrate Searsport's maritime heritage will begin Aug. 10.

In addition to drawing attention to its past, the celebrations are meant to raise awareness of the the town's potential as the port of Northern and Eastern Maine. For environmental reasons, the state has a three-port policy, Town Manager James Gillway said, and Searsport's is the most expandable of the three right now. Maine's other two ports are in Eastport and Portland. Unlike Eastport's port, Searsport's is on a rail line that provides a direct link to Canada and the Midwest, in addition to points in Northern and Eastern Maine.

A promising development for the town's marine economy, Board of Selectmen Chairman Jack Merrithew said, is a new maritime-based magnet school, The Ocean School, which is scheduled to open in Searsport in the fall.

Searsport's first Maritime Heritage Days were held last year, and Gillway said the turnout was encouraging enough to give it another shot.

A full day of activities is planned for Saturday, Aug. 12, with a few events scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

New this year will be a boat parade at 11 a.m. Aug. 12, which is "open to anyone who's got anything that floats," Merrithew said. Members of the public with vessels of any type may join the parade, which begins at Hamilton Wharf.

As was common practice in the days of shipbuilding when a new boat would launch, the parade will start with cannon fire from the wharf.

Another new event, sure to delight children and softshell clams alike, is a green crab hunting contest at Sears Island. The abundant invasive predators feed on clams in the mudflats.

One event that will not be repeated this year is the summit on the status of the shipping market, but organizers hope to bring that back next year.

The newly formed Special Events Committee is assisting in organizing the event and others, including the Searsport's upcoming 175th anniversary. The town is still looking for volunteers to serve on that committee.

The full schedule is below.


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Jordan M Bailey
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Jordan Bailey has been working for The Republican Journal since 2013. She studied philosophy at Boston College and has experience in marine science education and journalism. She lives in Belfast.


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