Saturday and Sunday is the Festival on the Spit. There will be interesting boats on display shoreside and in the harbor, kid’s boatbuilding, and marine demonstrations including steam bending, caulking, and rigging and knot tying.
Saturday night at 6 p.m. the Society throws a party at Alice’s Champagne Palace in downtown Homer, 6 pm, admission $5. Alice's offers their fine menu and bar services, and there will be a live auction with auctioneer Bumppo Bremicker. Highlights of available items are a 14’ canoe and a one-person canoe modeled after the “Wee Lassie”, both built by the Society's own Norm Griffin. At 9 p.m. the “Rouges and Wenches,” a costumed group of rowdy and bawdy musicians and entertainers from Anchorage will close out the evening.
This year represents a big change for the Wooden Boat crew, the most noticeable of which is the move to holding the Festival in September instead of in May, as in years past. The change was made for a variety of reasons, but the most important one has to do with trying to reach more of the community by holding the Festival at a time when more people want to come out.
In the past, when more of us were actively engaged in commercial fishing ventures, it made sense to have an early spring party before salmon season began. Even now, one of the things we’ll miss about the May Festival is that sense of emerging from winter and kicking off the year on the water. However, we’ve had to admit that as much as we love the light in May, the weather has often left a lot to be desired. Many are the tales of huddling around the giant wood stove at one end of the tent while marveling at how much fun could be had in a thirty knot breeze...
With the passage of time, though, we’ve found that there’s something to be said for the warmer days of late summer, and the hope is that by moving the Festival to the weekend after Labor Day, we’ll keep the “local” feeling intact and have a chance at some summer weather as well, and the greater turnout that such weather could bring. The Pederson Rowboat races are just more fun when we can hold them in nicer weather (despite claims by some that tiny boats in six foot seas are what really separate the water rats from the lubbers!)
Fear not, though, we’ll still have that giant woodstove out and roaring. Some things are just too good to change. Have a great summer, and we’ll see you in the fall.
Our plan is to erect a small structure there that can shelter our increasing collection of vessels, and also provide a location for the small boat construction and restoration classes that we’ve always dreamed of offering to the community of Homer.
We’re going to need help to make it happen, though, and you can be a part of that by becoming a member. Click on the link above to learn more about membership in your local Wooden Boat Society; it doesn’t take much, and it helps a lot. Thanks!
The 18th Annual Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival
It all started in the winter of 1992-93, when a band of local wood boat builders and enthusiasts decided to form an association to foster appreciation of the area’s maritime heritage, provide a forum for local wood boat builders and shipwrights to showcase their talents, and to have some fun in the process. The Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society (KBWBS) was born, and in May of 1993 they held the first Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival, an annual affair ever since. Some of the original events persist to this day while others have evolved over time. Celebrating traditional boats and boatbuilding skills with an appreciative nod to modern materials and techniques, Wooden Boat Festival events are put on through the volunteer efforts of KBWBS members and supporters.
Local businesses generously donate materials to help make the ever-popular kids’ boatbuilding an ocean of smiles for the whole family, while musicians enthusiastically volunteer their talents for a crowd-pleasing evening of sea chanteys at the Salty Dawg Saloon. Funds to offset the costs of other events and general expenses are raised through the sale of Wooden Boat Festival t-shits and sweatshirts sporting a new piece of original maritime art each year, considered by many to be collectors’ items. This year’s featured vessel is the ubiquitous Bristol Bay Double Ender, a design that defined salmon fishing in Alaska and on the Pacific coast through much of the 20th Century. An in depth exhibit at the Pratt Museum in Homer this year delves into the many faceted story of these vessels, and features an ongoing restoration of an original Double Ender led by Homer boatbuilder Dave Seaman. Check it out!
The Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society is a non-profit organization with no paid staff, and relies on volunteers and contributions from the community to bring you the Festival every year. Thanks for helping us keep it alive!