I love the WoodenBoat Show, held this past weekend at Mystic Seaport. It wasn’t a first for me, but the feeling is always the same.
Sure, traffic and parking can be a challenge, but once inside Museum gates, the crowds that flock to this annual event actually energize me. Everyone seems happy to be there. The festive atmosphere seems to positively impact everything and everybody.
The number, variety and beauty of the wooden boats exhibited is always an awesome sight.The proud and friendly owners genuinely enjoy sharing their boat’s nautical history with visitors.
But the WoodenBoat show encompasses more than getting up close and personal with these magnificent boats.
Here’s what makes this show stand out as one of my favorite Museum events:
It’s in the summer, when warm temperatures and sunshine add to the enjoyment; It’s all about the people;
- I met David and Arnette McCulloch, whose connection to Mystic Seaport goes back to Arnette’s days as supervisor of membership, sailing instructor and sometime skipper of the Sabino steamboat – all during her Mystic Seaport employment. They came to the WoodenBoat show on two separate days.
- I talked with Candy Bellavance, a member of the Museum’s security force, who described her department as “a little crazy” but confident that parking control and safety and security issues throughout the three-day show were being handled well.
- I gabbed with some of the tent vendors, all of whom were friendly, even when I didn’t make a purchase – but yes, I did buy some gifts. It’s hard to resist so many specialty goods all in one place at good prices. Seeing is believing and still beats Internet shopping in my book!
- It’s overhearing visitors talking about their dream to build or own a wooden boat such as those on display. I think many of us have dreams – or memories – of boats that hold a special place in our hearts and minds.
- It’s watching adults and children, with the help of Mystic Seaport volunteers, learning to make a lanyard – a special WoodenBoat show craft this year.
- It’s seeing children proudly showing off their own wooden boat creations, a special memory of their day at Mystic Seaport’s WoodenBoat show.
– It’s the amazement seen on visitors’ faces as they approach the towering Charles W. Morgan whaling ship, now in dry dock and undergoing a three-year restoration. One can almost imagine their sense of marvel and comparison to the much smaller wooden boats on display at the show.
I heard from “exit interviewers” that visitors gave an overall 100% thumbs-up for the WoodenBoat show itself, but many added that even though they came mainly for the boats, they thoroughly enjoyed the whole Museum. Good news for all concerned!
Blog post written by Trudi Busey.