Beau­ti­ful sight

Thousands visit Shel­burne tall ships

Tri-County Vanguard - - FRONT PAGE - KARLA KELLY

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.”

Look­ing ahead

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.

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