by Sarah Teach
Living on an island, our lives are rich with bounty from the sea. One way that we celebrate the joy of living here is by experiencing the time-honored maritime activities enjoyed by generations of islanders before us. The Egan Maritime Institute has organized a day packed with such activities. Everything will be free for the whole family to enjoy in the water, at the beach, and on the lawn. The third annual Nantucket Maritime Festival will take place on Saturday, September 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Children’s Beach and on Brant Point. The rain date is Sunday, September 23. Throughout the day, live music will emanate from the stage at Children’s Beach. At noon, the Nantucket Historical Association will present a special guest musician: Senior Interpreter Susan Berman, who will perform sea chanteys that have been passed down through generations of maritime families. Following Berman’s hour-long performance will be maritime historian Rick Spencer, who will also present an hour-long, very family-friendly concert of traditional sailor songs. Spencer will sing a cappella or will accompany himself on banjo, guitar or concertina; and audience members may be asked to sing along with a chorus or two! And when the music inspires you to get out on the water yourself, just sign up for one of the various paddleboard competitions that will be offered to kids and adults alike. A handful of island organizations will have activity tables set up all day long at Children’s Beach. Join the Nantucket Marine Mammal Conservation Program to make your own button and also learn how to create an origami whale! The Maria Mitchell Association will fill a touch tank with salt water and little marine friends like flat-clawed and long-clawed hermit crabs, whelks, soft and hard shell clams, green crabs, shrimp, periwinkles (snails), pipefish, killifish, and a few more that perhaps you’ve never seen before. (Don’t worry; after you meet them, Maria Mitchell’s aquarium staff will release them right back into the harbor where they belong!) Several craft stations will be set up in the Kids’ Tent at Children’s Beach. The Artists Association of Nantucket will provide materials and instruction for kids to make mosaic tiles and clay creations; and the Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum will show kids how to make their own toy boats. Nantucket Carving & Folk Art will be doing quarterboard carving demos, and local artist David Lazarus will be demonstrating one of Nantucket’s most time-honored activities, scrimshaw.
Over at Brant Point, the Coast Guard will be demonstrating the historic breeches buoy and modern survival suits that are used in extreme circumstances on the water. You are invited to come suit up and see how it feels to be inside one of these! Try your skill at tying the kinds of knots that seagoing people must use on a regular basis. The Maritime Festival is your chance to get to see inside the Brant Point Lighthouse, too. The Coast Guard will be giving tours all day long. The USCG Station itself, along with the adjacent propagation lab, will also be open for tours throughout the day. Transportation between Brant Point and Children’s Beach will be available. What is a festival without food? During lunchtime, the Sons of American Legion and a local raw bar will sell lunches and snacks rich with bounty from the sea.