CAMDEN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Labor Day weekend means the 23rd Annual Windjammer Festival in Camden.
There are some added educational touches this year, such as lobster fishing lessons and a “Windjammer Mates” course where kids can become certified deckhands.
It's the ebb and flow of thousands of locals and visitors in the inner harbor that defines Camden's Labor Day weekend.
They come to see the beauty of the 19 schooners that stand tall and proud for the annual Windjammer Festival.
“They're just awestruck to see the beauty of the ships,” said Camden Community Development Director Karen Brace.
The festival is more than just a nautical Labor Day weekend destination, it celebrates 225 years of history, honoring Camden's working waterfront.
Boat-building, sailing, lobster fishing — these are all just some of the jobs harbored in Camden year round.
“All of those are very hardworking, seagoing trades,” Brace said. “And we are glad to have such a strong working waterfront here to balance the tourism.”
It's not just the visitors who get excited by all the ships. For the sailors, it's a chance to reconnect with old buddies.
“We've just known each other forever,” said Cpt. J.R. Braugh, who works on the boat 'La Dona.' “I think that just makes it fun to sail across Penobscot Bay in these historic boats, and we just all know each other. It's like a reunion.”
The sailors know the inside scoop on what keeps everyone coming back each year.
“There's hundreds of islands, hundreds of places to go, and we've been doing this for decades, actually, and yet we are still able to find new places...just unlimited places to go,” Braugh said. “And it's because of the Maine coast that this all goes on here.”
The festival continues through Sunday afternoon.
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