Watermen’s Story Swap planned for Feb. 24 at Grasonville VFW
GRASONVILLE — When Troy Wilkins, president of the Queen Anne’s County Watermen’s Association, and local author Brent Lewis asked the officers of the VFW if they’d be willing to host a Watermen’s Story Swap, they didn’t hesitate, said Lewis. Lewis and Wilkins had been looking for another opportunity for the general public to gain insight into a local industry that is an important component of our cultural heritage and history, and VFW Commander Herb Jones and his team agreed it was a worthwhile endeavor, Lewis said. The event will be held Friday, Feb. 4, at the Grasonville VFW beginning at 6 p.m.
The Story Swap is a format that has been presented successfully in the past — the Kent Island Heritage Society host- ed an event a few years ago, and Lewis led a well-received panel at the Chesapeake Storytelling Festival in April 2016. This time, Lewis and Wilkins added a few new components to the great panel of Queen Anne’s watermen lined up to participate in the Watermen’s Story Swap.
Karen Oertel from W. H. Harris Seafood, which is celebrating its 70th year of business this coming December, will be participating. Also joining the program will be Jay Fleming, acclaimed Bay photographer and author of the recently published “Working on the Water,” and Harry Davidson, a homegrown, octogenarian and Kent Islander, who is set to perform songs he’s written about the waterman’s life.
Lewis plans to have displays of vintage photos and “found artifacts,” and Tom Willey of Wye River Models will display his Chesapeake-centic wooden boat models. Authors, including Nick Hoxter, Mark Lidinsky and Brent Lewis, will have tables set up with their works as well.
The main portion of the program is scheduled to last about 90 minutes with time before and after for guests to talk to the watermen and check out the the displays.
Watermen’s Story Swap is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, at Grasonville VFW Post 7464. Admission is free. Light refreshments and a cash bar will be available.
There is still space available for any group or person interested in participating by setting up a display table of memorabilia relevant to the seafood business and local history. Anyone interested in contributing or with vintage photographs of Queen Anne’s watermen should contact Brent Lewis at email@example.com.