Thousands visit Shelburne tall ships
The Bluenose II docked next to the Picton Castle for the Digby Rendez-vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta. For more on the tall ships in Digby and Shelburne,
About 4,000 visitors came to Shelburne by air, land and sea to visit the seaside town and the tall ships on Aug. 14 and 15.
Local flavours, crafts and activities complemented tours of the ships. No detail seemed to have been left out and the 14 months it took to plan the event paid off, said Darren Shupe, manager of community and economic development for the town.
Shupe said the committee wanted a schedule of events that would represent Shelburne County and the South Shore.
“We were striving for select experiences that were unique to the area,” said Shupe.
Darren Hudson’s lumberjack show, which included a chance to throw axes, was one of the events visitors could take in. The town’s ship building history was also well represented, including longboat rides, visits to the Dory Shop and historical sessions of mill building.
The guild hall hosted live local music, a fresh outdoor lobster boil and a free seafood chowder and Boxing Rock beer tasting.
Throughout Dock Street and the wharf, there were crafters and vendors set up so people could take home a bit of Shelburne to remember their visit.
In addition, Shelburne’s history came to life as an 18th-century Loyalist re-enactment regiment marched along Dock Street to shoot off muskets over the water as the tall ships loomed in the background.
‘Rolled out the red carpet’
As the ships first arrived on the morning of Aug. 14, passengers aboard the Europa were impressed to hear the welcoming sound of bagpipes played by Pat Melanson and a group of pipers to welcome them ashore.
Each ship was assigned a group of people to welcome ashore and help with any needs the ship’s crew might have. Transportation was organized to help people and supplies from one end of the wharf to the other and to send passengers to Boxing Rock Brewery and the Black Loyalist Heritage Museum for a tour.
“They really have rolled out the red carpet for us,” said Andy Burnett-Herkes, one of the passengers aboard the Europa and vessel management for the Tall Ships Bermuda. “We really appreciated the welcome we received.”
Other passengers said they were surprised by how much a small town could offer.
Shupe said he was proud of his team and the work they contributed to making this event a success.
“Everyone stepped up,” said Shupe. “As an organizer, that was the highlight for me.”
Shupe said the Waterfront Development Association left with great remarks about the event and Shupe said this will go a long way to help promote Shelburne for future events.
While the planning committee for the tall ship event has yet to catch their breath, Shupe said they are already looking at hosting a cruise ship visit early in the summer of 2018.
Shupe said there are expected to be about 1,200 passengers for up to a 12-hour visit.
“It is in the early stages,” said Shupe. “We will have experience through the tall ships visit to help plan an event.”
The group, he said, will learn from past errors and provide a harbour pilot for the cruise ship visit if they decide to mark Shelburne as a stopover port.
“We now have a good sense of what we can do,” said Shupe. “What is special about this place and all of the good things that will come from that.”
People relax on a bench during the tall ship tour in Shelburne.
The Darren Hudson Wild Axe Productions Lumberjack show was a hit to tourists visiting for the Tall Ship visits to Shelburne on Aug. 14 and 15.
The Shelburne Loyalist Re-enactment Society marched down Dock Street to show off a display, shooting their muskets over the water.
The chainsaw competition saw some fun results with two sturdy chairs cut for the crowd.
An outdoor boiled supper was a successful event followed by live music and fireworks.