18th an­nual Down­rig­ging sails into Ch­ester­town

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE -

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion has an­nounced the sched­ule for its an­nual Down­rig­ging Week­end tall ship and wooden boat fes­ti­val, set for Oct. 26 to 29, in Ch­ester­town.

Now in its 18th year, Down­rig­ging Week­end is one of the largest an­nual tall ship gath­er­ings in North Amer­ica and fea­tures four days of tall ship sails, deck tours, con­certs, lec­tures, films, ex­hibits and fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties.

Unique among tall ship fes­ti­vals on the East Coast, Down­rig­ging Week­end of­fers visi­tors the op­por­tu­nity to sail on a fleet of tall ships.

Over the course of Down­rig­ging Week­end, an ar­ray of his­toric ves­sels — in­clud­ing Kal­mar Ny­ckel, the state tall ship of Delaware; the schooners Vir­ginia, Lynx, Lady Mary­land and Sul­tana; and skip­jacks Sigs­bee and Elsworth — will take pas­sen­gers out for four joint sails on the Ch­ester River.

Sailing tick­ets be­gin at $25 and are avail­able at sul­tanae­d­u­ca­tion.org.

Visi­tors also can visit and tour the ships at the dock dur­ing one of sev­eral sched­uled free open houses. Those look­ing for more com­fort for their voy­age on the Ch­ester also have the op­por­tu­nity to cruise on Ches- ter­town’s own River Packet.

This year’s event will serve as the un­veil­ing for Ch­ester­town’s newly re­vi­tal­ized water­front. Fol­low­ing two years of con­struc­tion, and $6.2 mil­lion in im­prove­ments, visi­tors to Down­rig­ging will be wel­comed by larger, state-of-the-art float­ing piers, a raised park­ing lot, a new ma­rina of­fice, pub- lic bath­rooms and show­ers and land­scap­ing.

The Down­rig­ging Week­end fes­tiv­i­ties do not stop at the wa­ter’s edge. This year’s events will fea­ture the re­turn of the Del­marva Dock Dogs com­pe­ti­tion hosted by Kingstown Farm, Home and Gar­den.

Tak­ing place on both Satur­day and Sun­day, this com­pe­ti­tion will see dogs from all over the re­gion com­pete to see who can leap the farthest. Lo­cal dog own­ers are wel­come to en­ter their dogs in the com­pe­ti­tion and reg­is­tra­tion and sched­ul­ing in­for­ma­tion can be found at dock­dogs.com.

The fes­ti­val’s on-the-wa­ter events will be rounded out by an ex­hibit of clas­sic cars and boats on the water­front in con­junc­tion with the An­tique and Clas­sic Boat So­ci­ety, a wa­ter­side 5K and half-marathon hosted by the ShoreRivers and con­certs by the East­port Oys­ter Boys, Levi Stephens and the High and Wides.

Visi­tors this year won’t have to leave the river to hear mu­sic, thanks to a new water­front stage host­ing per­for­mances by Betty and the Bul­let, the Moun­tain Lion String Band, the Ch­ester­town Ukulele Club, Apache Trails and the Dove­tail Trio.

For those in­ter­ested in mar­itime his­tory, lec­tures will take place through­out the week­end. On Fri­day evening, John Brady, pres­i­dent and CEO of the In­de­pen­dence Sea­port Mu­seum, will talk about the 1892 cruiser Olympia.

Satur­day af­ter­noon, Pres Hard­ing will per­form “Boy in the Boat­yard,” a per­for­mance of mu­sic, spo­ken word and images in­spired by his child­hood in Win­gate, and the Book­plate will host a talk on Gil­bert By­ron and his work by author Jac­ques T. Baker.

Art will be a ma­jor theme for Down­rig­ging, in­clud­ing an ex­hibit by Marc Castelli, “Mind­ing the Dog­vane,” at the Carla Mas­soni Gallery, as well as RiverArts an­nual Stu­dio Tour.

The Kent County Arts Coun­cil has pro­duced a new play specif­i­cally for Down­rig­ging Week­end by play­wright Robert Earl Price, “Un­lad­ing,” which tells the story of 23 en­slaved Africans as they are “un­laded” from a Dutch Man of War.

Also back this year is the enor­mously pop­u­lar an­nual night­time il­lu­mi­na­tion of the tall ships and fire­works dis­play over Ch­ester­town’s his­toric har­bor.

For a full sched­ule, or to reg­is­ter for a Down­rig­ging Week­end sail, visit sul­tanae­d­u­ca­tion.org.

PHOTO BY SAM SHOGE

This aerial drone shot cour­tesy of Shore Stu­dios pro­vides a bird’s-eye view of the tall ships at the Ch­ester­town Ma­rina dur­ing last year’s Down­rig­ging Week­end. The tall ship fes­ti­val hosted by Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion re­turns this week­end.

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