Down­rig­ging brings busy week­end

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By LEANN SCHENKE lschenke@thekent­coun­

— Tall ships will once again sail the Ch­ester River dur­ing the Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the last sail be­fore win­ter, Down­rig­ging Week­end Oct. 27 to 29.

“Peo­ple love to see the ships take over the Ch­ester River,” said Drew McMullen, pres­i­dent of the Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion. “We es­ti­mate around 1,200 peo­ple will be out on the wa­ter.”

The event, which McMullen said is one of the largest tall ship fes­ti­vals on the East Coast, has “tons new” this year and plenty for all in­ter­ests to en­joy.

This year’s three-day event will in­clude eight ships: Kal­mar Ny­ckel, the state ship of Delaware; Pride

of Bal­ti­more II, a re­con­struc­tion of an early 19th cen­tury Bal­ti­more clip­per;

A.J. Meer­wald, an oys­ter schooner launched in 1928 and re­stored in 1996 by the Bayshore Dis­cov­ery Project; Lady Mary­land, a Liv­ing Class­rooms schooner; Ch­ester­town’s own Sul­tana, a re­pro­duc­tion of the 1768 name­sake used by the Bri­tish Royal Navy used in the years be­fore the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion; and Elsworth, a 1901 oys­ter-dredg­ing skip­jack.

The Lynx, a square top­sail schooner that was de­signed af­ter those used dur­ing the War of 1812, will be re­turn­ing to the fes­ti­val this year for the first time since 2008.

In ad­di­tion to the tall ships, McMullen said there are ex­pected to be lots of pri­vate sail­boats head­ing to Ch­ester­town for the week­end.

Events will begin at noon Fri­day when the tall ships are open for tours. Pas­sen­ger sails begin at 3 p.m. and run un­til 5 p.m. Fri­day. De­pend­ing on avail­abil­ity, se­lect ships will be open for

pas­sen­gers from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Satur­day and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Sun­day.

A fa­vorite of pho­tog­ra­phers and on­look­ers alike, the ships will be il­lu­mi­nated from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each night dur­ing the fes­ti­val. On Fri­day, the ships will have il­lu­mi­na­tion from fire­works set off over the Ch­ester River be­gin­ning at 7:30 p.m.

New this year, boats of all sizes will be cov­ered in lights and pa­raded down High Street Fri­day in the Lighted Boat Pa­rade to cel­e­brate the open­ing night of Down­rig­ging. The pa­rade will start at 6:45 p.m. and make its way down High Street to the Ch­ester River.

The boats will be judged for prizes in the cat­e­gories “Most Orig­i­nal,” “Most Twin­kle for the Buck” and “Kolos­sal Kilo­watt.”

Spots are still avail­able in the boat pa­rade. To sign up, visit www.sul­tanae­d­u­ca­ and click on the tab “reg­is­ter for the boat pa­rade.”

Satur­day sees the re­turn of last year’s fa­vorite Dock Dogs. Pooches will be leap­ing for the long­est dis­tance from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Satur­day and from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sun­day at Kingstown Farm, Home & Gar­den lo­cated just across the Ch­ester River bridge.

For car en­thu­si­asts, Fer­raris will pa­rade down High Street be­gin­ning at 11 a.m. Satur­day be­fore park­ing at the foot of High Street. Clas­sic cars also will be on dis­play along with clas­sic boats from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Satur­day and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun­day.

For those wish­ing to learn more about the his­tory of sail­ing and har­bor towns, Down­rig­ging will of­fer a number of lec­tures and book talks dur­ing the week­end.

Marc Castelli’s ex­hibit “Swing­ing the Lantern” will be open from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Fri­day at Mas­soniArt along with an oys­ter bar. Castelli has been paint­ing the wa­ter­men of the Ch­e­sa­peake for more than 25 years. The ex­hi­bi­tion high­lights his de­pic­tions of life on the wa­ter.

Castelli’s work also will be on view at Sul­tana’s Holt Cen­ter at the cor­ner of Cross and Can­non streets. Castelli cap­tured the con­struc­tion of schooner Sul­tana through a se­ries of paint­ings be­tween 1997 and 2001. There will be an open­ing re­cep­tion for his work from 5 to 7 p.m. Fri­day at the Holt Cen­ter. The ex­hibit will open to visi­tors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Satur­day and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun­day.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Castelli’s book “Build­ing the Sul­tana” will be re­leased at 6 p.m. Satur­day in the Swain Ge­og­ra­phy Class­room in the Holt Cen­ter.

At 8 p.m. Fri­day, Jonathan Boul­ware, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of South Street Sea­port Mu­seum, will give a lec­ture “The Street of Ships: The Re­cov­ery and Re­birth of New York’s South Street Sea­port Mu­seum” at the Garfield Cen­ter for the Arts. He will fo­cus on the his­tory of New York’s port and he will tell the story us­ing his­tory, pho­tos and a bit of hyper­bole.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay writer, ed­u­ca­tor and his­to­rian Kate Livie will give a talk at 11 a.m. Satur­day at the Book­plate on Cross Street. Livie is the au­thor of “Ch­e­sa­peake Oys­ters: The Bay’s Foun­da­tion and Fu­ture.” She is the man­ag­ing editor of Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Mag­a­zine and ad­junct pro­fes­sor at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege on Ch­e­sa­peake en­vi­ron­men­tal his­tory.

Wendy Mit­man Clarke, Wash­ing­ton Col­lege’s di­rec­tor of me­dia re­la­tions, will dis­cuss her book “Still Wa­ter Bend­ing” at 3 p.m. Satur­day also at the Book­plate. Her novel tells the story of a third-gen­er­a­tion water­man and his es­tranged daugh­ter.

The Holt Cen­ter, which opened last year, will have an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Fri­day. Through­out the day Satur­day, there will be chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties at the cen­ter in­clud­ing a model boat and ship ex­hibit and the Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources’ Scales and Tails.

Early Sun­day, run­ners may race along the Ch­ester River and by the tall ships for the Ch­ester River As­so­ci­a­tion’s Ch­ester River Chal­lenge Run. Run­ners have the op­tion of a 5K or a half marathon. Regis­tra­tion be­gins at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m. in Wilmer Park.

Food and mu­sic will be avail­able through­out the week­end in a tent set up in the Fish Whis­tle’s park­ing lot.

Mu­sic on Fri­day will in­clude Shelby Hotwire from 5 to 7 p.m. in the tent and the High & Wides at 9 p.m.

Satur­day’s mu­sic in the tent will in­clude the Dove Tail Trio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Ch­ester­town Ukulele Club from 1 to 2 p.m., the Lions of Blue­grass from 3 to 5 p.m. and Levi Stephans and the Work­ing Class at 9 p.m.

Hurry-Gurdy with Brian McCand­less will play from 3 to 4 p.m. Satur­day at the foot of High Street.

The Pam Or­tiz Band will close out live mu­sic on Satur­day with a con­cert at 8 p.m. at the Garfield Cen­ter for the Arts.

On Sun­day, the Dove Tail Trio will play again at 11 a.m. in the tent and Benji Price will play be­gin­ning at 1 p.m. there.

The East­ern Shore Wind Ensemble will close out mu­si­cal per­for­mances dur­ing Down­rig­ging with its con­cert from 4 to 5 p.m. at Emanuel Church in Ch­ester­town.


Down­rig­ging Week­end re­turns Fri­day, Satur­day and Sun­day to Ch­ester­town. Fea­tur­ing tall ships in­clud­ing Sul­tana, cen­ter, and Pride of Bal­ti­more II, right, shown here dur­ing last year’s fes­ti­val, the event is put on by the Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion.


An ea­ger pup springs for­ward with ease as it chases af­ter a thrown toy last year dur­ing Down­rig­ging Week­end Dock­Dogs com­pe­ti­tion. The pop­u­lar event re­turns this week­end to Kingstown Farm, Home & Gar­den.

Bring­ing his­tory to life, Down­rig­ging Week­end pro­vides at­ten­dees with op­por­tu­ni­ties to tour and sail on his­toric tall ships.

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