CHESTERTOWN — Downrigging Weekend found success this year in its pairing of tall ships and bluegrass tunes.
The festival, hosted by the Sultana Education Foundation, was held Nov. 1-3 with events like book talks and lectures throughout Chestertown and a new bluegrass festival in the newly re-opened Port of Chestertown Marina.
According to Drew McMullen, president of the foundation, festival organizers had wanted to expand on Downrigging and add to the musical festival element to past festivals. However, the marina's near constant flooding prevented any events from being held at the marina.
With renovations being complete, Downrigging was able to feature its "village," which offered music, beer, oysters, food and fire pits for people to gather.
McMullen said given the success of this year's event, he "would be surprised" if next year's Downrigging does not include a musical festival.
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The square topsail schooner, Lynx, sails back after a public sail Saturday. The ship was built to "interpret the general configuration and operation of a privateer schooner from the War of 1812," Downrigging Weekend's website states.
Julianna DeMarco loosens the spirt topsail Saturday morning on Kalmar Nyckel. She has been a member of the ship's crew for more than three years. DeMarco enjoyed Downrigging, saying the festival is cool and fun.
A Kalmar Nyckel crew member hangs high up in the rigging Saturday morning as visitors toured the ship during one of Downrigging Weekend's open houses.
Downrigging attendees hop aboard Sigsbee during an open house Saturday morning. The 75-foot skipjack was originally built in 1901, then rebuilt in the early 1990s after it was purchased by the Living Classrooms Foundation.
Bill “Hutch” Hutchinson, center, education coordinator for the Kalmar Nyckel, offers a history lesson Saturday morning on the ship’s bell, visible just over his left shoulder.
Sultana deckhand Ruthann Monsees shows Chestertown resident Tommy Divilio, 3, how to turn the schooner’s tiller during an open house Saturday morning. Monsees hails from Long Island, N.Y.; she joined the Sultana Education Foundation in March.
Chestertown's own schooner Sultana is tied up port-side Saturday morning for an open house as part of Downrigging Weekend.
Visitors tour the Kalmar Nyckel during an open house Saturday morning at the Port of Chestertown Marina.
As part of Downrigging Weekend, the Sultana Education Foundation’s Holt Center offered a variety of family activities, such as decorating your own sailor’s hat as modeled here Saturday morning by Catherine Allen, right.
An American kestrel, part of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Scales and Tales traveling exhibit, is on display in the Sultana Education Foundation's Holt Center Saturday morning as part of Downrigging Weekend's family activities.
While the tall ships were based at the Port of Chestertown Marina for Downrigging Weekend, those who enjoy scaled down versions could take in the model boat show at the Sultana Education Foundation's headquarters on South Cross Street. Shown here is a 1:48 scale version of Fair American, a Revolutionary War brig. Still under construction by modeler Larry Valett, left, it will feature 22 sails when complete.
The Virginia and Pride of Baltimore II are lit up Friday evening at the Port of Chestertown Marina. The tall ships were illuminated every night through the weekend as part of the festival.
Henry Colie is pictured fixing the flag on Little Toot Friday, Nov. 1 at the Port of Chestertown Marina. Little Toot is owned by Ferris Butler and was built in 1950. This was Colie's, as well as Little Toot's, first time at Downrigging.
While the tall ships offered sails down the Chester River, while docked at the Port of Chestertown Marina Friday the ships were open for the public to tour.
At Downrigging, there is a mixture of old and new ships as well as some attendees manning boats in period clothing.
Pictured, from left, Alan Raushc on dobro, Brad Turner on mandolin and Lee Collins on guitar of Flatland Drive perform Saturday. New this year Downrigging, had the added feature of a bluegrass music festival. Bands played all three days of the festival in the village, located in the Port of Chestertown Marina.
From left, Brad Turner on mandolin, Lee Collins on guitar and Rodney Collins on bass of Flatland Drive perform Saturday as part of Downrigging’s new bluegrass music festival. Because of the success of the bluegrass music festival, Sultana Education Foundation President Drew McMullen said he would be very surprised if the Downrigging does not include something similar next year.
The crowd for Flatland Drive's set spills out from the tent Saturday during Downrigging. This year's festival featured a bluegrass music festival element housed in the village — located within the Port of Chestertown Marina. In addition to music, the village also offered beer, fire pits and plenty of oysters.
The Downrigging Festival’s village is full of visitors enjoying oysters, beer and bluegrass music. Drew McMullen — president of the Sultana Education Foundation, which hosts Downrigging — said this year the festival saw its largest turnout. McMullen was happy to see the high turnout because it results in more visitors passing through local businesses. He said the festival is meant to be a way to say thank you to the Town of Chestertown.
A line for oysters forms down from the tent, which housed the oyster shuckers Saturday during Downrigging Weekend.
Captain Andy McCown shucks oysters Saturday during the Downrigging Festival.
Downrigging attendees could tour the tall ships before they set out for public sails Saturday.
Downrigging Festival's new village — which housed the bluegrass festival as well as oysters, food and beer — is packed with visitors Saturday afternoon.
In addition to the tall ships, Downrigging played host to boats from the Antique and Classic Boat Society. Lady Mugg, owned by Mark Hondru of Pittsburg, Pa., was built in 1939. Ray Maule, right, was as he said tasked with "babysitting" the boats. While this was not his first Downrigging, Maule said he was enjoying this year's festival.
In addition to the Port of Chestertown Marina, another popular spot for watching the tall ships sail the Chester River is from Wilmer Park. Pictured is the Kalmar Nyckel, the state ship of Delaware.
Jennifer Quante and Pat Quante takes pictures of the tall ships as they sail down the Chester River Saturday. This was the couple's, who were visiting for the day from Leesburg, Va., first time attending Downrigging Weekend.
Local bluegrass band The High & Wides draw a large crowd during their performance Saturday in the village at the Port of Chestertown Marina.
The High & Wides perform in the village Saturday during Downrigging. According to Sultana Education Foundation President Drew McMullen, the band helped find other area bluegrass bands to play during the festival. McMullen also said more than 3,000 people passed through the village, in part because of the added bluegrass music to this year’s festival.
Photographers and visitors wait for on the Port of Chestertown Marina docks for the tall ships to parade back Saturday afternoon.
Jollyboat Vigilant "Jolly" arrives back at the docks Saturday with the parade of tall ships not far behind. The boat is a reconstruction of an 18th century ship's "jolly boat" from Columbia.
Visitors greet the crew of the Jollyboat Vigilant as it returns to the Port of Chestertown Marina after sailing with the tall ships Saturday.
Enjoying one of the best seats in the house to watch the Kalmar Nyckel return to Chestetown Saturday are, from left, Alden Swanson, Kato Swanson, August Swanson, Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr. Drew McMullen — president of the Sultana Education Foundation, which hosts Downrigging — said more than 1,023 people went sailing during the three days of Downrigging. He said that number is a record for both the festival and for tall ship festivals on the east coast.
The state ship of Delaware, the Kalmar Nyckel, dwarfs kayakers Saturday as the tall ship returns to Chestertown following a public sail. The kayakers, from left, are August Swanson, Kato Swanson, Matthew Swanson and Alden Swanson.
The crew of the Kalmar Nyckel prepares the ship to return to the Port of Chestertown Marina Saturday following a sail down the Chester River.
The Pride of Baltimore II is the second ship to sail back into the Port of Chestertown Marina Saturday following the Kalmar Nyckel. The ship is a reconstruction of an early 19th century “Baltimore Clipper.”
Sails are pictured behind cars parked at the Port of Chestertown Marina. Sultana Education Foundation President Drew McMullen said having the marina finished this year meant the festival could expand and add the bluegrass music festival — something, he said, festival organizers have been wanting to do "forever." He said with the flooding the marina used to experience, it would not have been previously possible to host the festival as it was structured this year.
The tall ships' iconic sails are pictured Saturday evening during the second day of Downrigging Weekend. Sultana Education Foundation President Drew McMullen said he was happy to see the high turnout during the festival because it results in more visitors passing through local business. He said the festival is meant to be a way to say thank you to the town.