Since its start in May 1993, the annual Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society Festival has moved in both location and time of year. Now in its 25th year, the weekend of boats and fun has settled into a comfortable spot by the Pier One Theatre campground on the Spit for the first part of September.
Held a week earlier than some years, the wooden boat festival starts today and coincides with the Labor Day weekend. That will give working Janes and Joes a Monday to sleep in after the big boat fest party starting at 6 p.m. Sunday at Alice’s Champagne Palace, with dancing by Rogues &Wenches starting at 8 p.m. The evening also includes an auction fundraiser for the wooden boat society.
Back again because they’re just so much dang fun, the bawdy Anchorage band also does a sing-a-long from 3-5 p.m. Saturday at the festival site.
“Everybody sings along. We’ve got books with the lyrics,” said Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society President Bumppo Bremicker. “It’s a lot of fun.”
The festival starts with another sing-a-long, the Sea Chanteys, Sea Stories and Fishing Poetry night starting at 7 p.m. today at the Salty Dawg.
In its early years the festival was held near the harbor and over the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival weekend. It moved to the fall to accommodate mariners’ schedules when they would be less busy after the fishing season. While the weather forecast calls for a chance of rain, festival goers will be dry thanks to the new Kachemak Bay Water Trails Pavilion by the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.
That also will be the site of one of the festival highlights, the kids model boat building. Carpenter Dave Collette-Paule has cut out 400 wooden boat blanks for kids to assemble and paint. Longtime volunteer John Miles supervises the creativity.
The boat building takes place during the main part of the festival, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and noon- 5 p.m. Sunday on the Spit. Bremicker encourages anyone with a wooden boat to bring it to the festival — even if it’s a work in progress.
“I just love people showing up with different boats,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. … You can get advice.”
Bremicker will bring an 18-foot rowing bateau he’s been working on,
“They just scoot. That boat is nice,” he said. “It rows really good. They’re really fast.”
Wooden boats not only will be on display, but several will be available for people to take out into Mud Bay from the water trails boat launch site. Longtime wooden boat society member Dave Seaman will give rides on a Bristol Bay double-ender. Life vests will be available to keeps kids safe.
“There will definitely be some boats to row down there, which I think is really fun to take your kids out there,” Bremicker said.
Throughout the festival will be marine skills demonstrations, food vendors and booths by ocean and fish-friendly organizations. From 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the festival site is the North Pacific Fisheries Associations fish fry. The wooden boat society also has a booth, with information on joining the organization and sales of its popular hoodies and hats. This year’s design is of the boat society’s own work-in-progress, the Indomita. Janna Christen drew the logo.
New this year from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center is a workshop on fishing families in Alaska’s fisheries sponsored by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, with presentations on research on topics like “Family roles and gender division of labor” and “The future of fishing families and women in Alaska’s fisheries.” Following the discussion is a showing of the popular sea film, “Sailing Around the Horn.”
Reach Michael Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
25th Annual Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society Festival
7 p.m. Thursday
Sea chanteys, sea stories, fishing poetry
6-8 p.m. Friday
Alaska Islands and Oceans Center
Workshop, “Fishing Families in Alaska’s Fisheries” hosted by Alaska Fisheries Science Center and
Sponsored by the Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge.
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
Noon-5 p.m. Sunday
Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Campground behind Pier One Theatre
Wooden boats display, kids boat building, marine skills demonstrations, food and ocean/fish-friendly booths, boat rowing and sailing in Mud Bay
2-4 p.m Saturday
Fishing Lagoon Campground
North Pacific Fisheries Association’s Fish Fry
3-5 p.m. Saturday
Fishing Lagoon Campground
Acoustic sing-along with the Rogues &Wenches
6 p.m. Sunday
Alice’s Champagne Palace
Dinner, dance and auction
$10 cover charge
Rogues &Wenches perform at 8 p.m.