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Tall Ships and Bluegrass Come to Chestertown
November 1 @ 12:00 am - November 3 @ 12:00 am
Searching for an unforgettable fall weekend adventure? Look no further. A selection of North America’s finest Tall Ships is returning to Chestertown on November 1 through 3 for the Sultana Education Foundation’s annual Sultana Downrigging Festival, but this time with a new twist. Taking advantage of Chestertown’s newly revitalized waterfront, Sultana Downrigging is expanding to include three days of bluegrass music, regional oysters and food, craft beer, and much more.
Since its inception in 2001, Sultana Downrigging has evolved into one of the largest public sailing events in the United States; each year taking more than 1,000 people out on to the Chester River for a series of “Tall Ship Sails” aboard a fleet of historic ships including Delaware’s Kalmar Nyckel, and the schooners Virginia, Pride of Baltimore II, Sultana and Lady Maryland. With fall foliage at its peak and an abundance of seasonal waterfowl entering the region, Sultana Downrigging’s Tall Ship Sails have become a treasured tradition for many sailors. Free Tall Ship deck tours are available each day, ship illuminations will dazzle viewers by night, and on Saturday evening visitors can watch an unforgettable fireworks show over the Downrigging fleet in Chestertown’s historic harbor.
As if this wasn’t enough, the expanded Sultana Downrigging 2019 will feature a new Waterfront Festival Village, housing food vendors, craft beer and three days of bluegrass music. Regional favorites scheduled to appear include 2018 FreshGrass Award winners, Man About a Horse; 2017 Charm City Bluegrass Festival Band Competition winners, The Dirty Grass Players; the U.S. Navy’s internationally acclaimed bluegrass band Country Current; Chestertown’s own High and Wides; and Caleb Stine, who the Baltimore Sun describes as “the lynchpin of the Baltimore folk scene.” Also scheduled to appear are local legends Betty and the Bullet, Apache Trails, Mtn Lion String Band, Flatland Drive, The Simmons Family, Gray and Bluegrass, and No Part of Nothin.’
In addition to activity at the waterfront, Sultana Downrigging will also have plenty to offer within picturesque Historic Downtown Chestertown, including lectures by NPR reporter, regional journalist and renowned author Tom Pelton; Bluegrass in Baltimore author Tim Newby; and former Scottish Maritime Museum Director Jim Tidesley; exhibits of classic and traditional boats with the Antique and Classic Boat Society and the log-canoe Silver Heel; an exhibit and talk by renowned maritime artist Marc Castelli; appearances by the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Ranger and Maryland DNR’s Scales and Tales; cruises on the local Chester River; model boats, digital presentations, and fun activities for children at the Sultana Education Foundation’s Holt Center; and concerts by the Pam Ortiz Band and Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble.
Adding a reward to your Downrigging experience, proceeds from the festival will benefit the Sultana Education Foundation’s educational programs and support the nonprofit organizations that operate participating Tall Ships. Sultana is an education nonprofit that provides award-winning educational experiences in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, working to create future stewards of this national treasure. Detailed event information and tickets for Sultana Downrigging Festival 2019 are available at www.downrigging.org, or by contacting the Sultana Education Foundation office at 410-778-5954.