Down­rig­ging wel­comes tall ships

The Star Democrat - - FRONT PAGE - By LEANN SCHENKE lschenke@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The Ch­ester River once again will be filled with masts and sails this week­end as the tall ships of Down­rig­ging Week­end make their way into the har­bor.

“Ex­pect lots of boats this year and a lot of vis­i­tors,” said Drew McMullen, pres­i­dent of the Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion. “We’ve never had so much ad­vanced reg­is­tra­tion be­fore.”

The an­nual event, spon­sored by the Sul­tana Foun­da­tion, be­gins Fri­day and runs through Sun­day with se­lect tall ships open­ing for tours start­ing at noon Fri­day, Oct. 28, and pub­lic sails at 3 p.m.

This year’s ships in­clude Kal­mar Ny­ckel, Pride of Bal­ti­more II, A.J. Meer­wald, Lady of Mary­land, Sul­tana, Elsworth, Sigs­bee

and, mak­ing its Down­rig­ging de­but, U.S. Naval Academy schooner Sum­mer­wind.

“We have the Sum­mer­wind for the first time this year,” McMullen said. “It will be full of mid­ship­men from the Naval Academy.”

The fire­works and ship il­lu­mi­na­tion are set to start with the light­ing of the ships at 6: 30 p. m. Fri­day and fire­works at 7 p. m. The ship il­lu­mi­na­tion will con­tinue from 6: 30 to 9 p. m. Fri­day through Sun­day.

Across the Ch­ester River bridge, the week­end con­tin­ues with Dock Dogs, a premier ca­nine aquat­ics com­pe­ti­tion. The Sul­tana Foun­da­tion has part­nered with Kingstown Farm, Home and Gar­den, and Del­marva Dock Dogs.

“Dock Dogs is new this year and is go­ing to draw a lot of peo­ple,” McMullen said. “Eas­ily 1,000 peo­ple are go­ing to come out to see it.”

Par­tic­i­pat­ing pooches will com­pete in a va­ri­ety of cat­e­gories to see who can jump the far­thest. Dogs will jump on two days, from 8 a. m. to 5 p. m. Satur­day and from 8: 30 a. m. to 2: 30 p.m. Sun­day at 7271 Church Hill Road.

This year also is the in­au­gu­ral year for the Sul­tana’s new ed­u­ca­tion build­ing, and there will be plenty of events for chil­dren tak­ing place there, from 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. Satur­day, in­clud­ing a look at the foun­da­tion’s aquar­ium and a demon­stra­tion by Scales and Tails.

An ar­ti­san wine tast­ing, with wines from Clovelly Vine­yards, Crow Vine­yard & Win­ery and Triple Creek Win­ery, will hap­pen from noon to 5 p. m. Satur­day and noon to 4 p.m. Sun­day.

The tast­ings can be found at the Ch­ester­town Ma­rina’s dock­side store next to the tall ships. Ad­mis­sion is $ 15 per day, and in­cludes a com­mem­o­ra­tive wine glass and seven tast­ings from any com­bi­na­tion of the winer­ies.

The week­end does not limit it­self to tall ships. Clas­sic cars and boats from the 1920s through the 1960s will be on dis­play through­out Ch­ester­town. About 20 award- win­ning cars and boats will be on dis­play from 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. Satur­day and 10 a. m. to 4 p. m. Sun­day.

In­land at the Garfield Cen­ter for the Arts, Down­rig­ging will be cel­e­brated with mu­sic at 7 p. m. Fri­day, with the Pam Or­tiz Band. Tick­ets are $ 15.

New to the Garfield, at 8 p. m. Satur­day, Holy Ghost Tent Re­vival will per­form. NPR de­scribes the band as “soul- rock horn band that re­calls ‘ 60s and ‘ 70s clas­sic- rock in­flu­ences such as The Band and The Fly­ing Bur­rito Broth­ers, con­tem­po­rary in­die- rock acts like Dr. Dog, and New Or­leans brass- band jazz.” Tick­ets are $ 25 for gen­eral ad­mis­sion and $ 15 for stu­dents.

From 5 to 7: 30 p. m., Fri­day, Mas­soni Art Gallery will host a Down­rig­ging open­ing re­cep­tion, ti­tled “Fire­works and Oys­ters,” with beer, wine and paint­ings. The gallery will fea­ture a Marc Castelli ex­hi­bi­tion as an of­fi­cial part­ner event with the Sul­tana Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion.

Through the week­end, the gallery will host an open house from 10 a. m. to 7 p. m. Satur­day and from 11 a. m. to 3 p. m. Sun­day.

Look out for lo­cal Jo Sor­rentino and the in­ter­na­tional group called Shan­ti­town who will be mak­ing an ap­pear­ance at Down­rig­ging.

“In years past, the team has raised funds for Kent Cen­ter in the Goose-bump Jump, and this year will be rais­ing funds for the food pantry,” Sor­rentino said in an email. “This group of peo­ple from as far as South Africa and Aus­tralia all come to­gether for a love of crabs and ex­plor­ing Kent County.”

The fes­ti­val will in­clude tall ships, food, live en­ter­tain­ment, art, lec­tures and car shows.

“De­pend­ing on the weather, it should be a big year for us,” McMullen said. “We’ve never seen so many peo­ple sign up so it should be a great year.”

For a com­plete sched­ule of events, visit sul­tanae­d­u­ca­tion.org.

PHOTO BY DO­RIAN MITCHELL

The Kal­mar Ny­ckel sails on the Ch­ester River dur­ing last year’s Down­rig­ging Week­end. This year vis­i­tors to Kent County can ex­pect tall ships, good food, live en­ter­tain­ment and more dur­ing the an­nual fes­ti­val.

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