Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival to take place this weekend

The schooner Mystic Whaler, second from right, leads the schooners Defiance, left, Adventurer, second from left, and Lettie G. Howard, right, during the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival Schooner race Saturday, September 12, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
The schooner Mystic Whaler, second from right, leads the schooners Defiance, left, Adventurer, second from left, and Lettie G. Howard, right, during the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival Schooner race Saturday, September 12, 2015. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

There’s no question over our region’s maritime heritage, so why not spend five days celebrating it? That’s precisely the premise behind the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival, which already started Wednesday with a maritime career expo at Groton’s Submarine Force Museum.

Fear not, though. The real party gets started today. After a welcoming ceremony at 11 a.m., a swing dance extravaganza is scheduled to take place on New London’s Custom House pier throughout the evening. Local band The Cartells are booked to play all those great swing hits (think: “In the Mood” and "Jumpin' Jive"), and swing dance lessons will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. for those who've always wanted to learn swinging moves.

Speaking of music, this year's stage line-up is pretty impressive. Notably, country singer Lori McKenna will be performing at some point Saturday evening (the time wasn't specified). She's the first woman to win CMA's Song of the Year two years in a row, for co-writing "Girl Crush" and writing "Humble and Kind," and her album, "The Bird and the Rifle," received three Grammy nominations in 2016. Other acts to look forward to include: The Mark O'Connor Band, Ruthie Foster and Sierra Hull & Justin Moses (all have either won or been nominated for Grammy Awards in recent years). Performances are set to take from from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Also on Saturday: a  clam chowder competition as local restaurants fight to have their clam chowder chosen as best. Last year's winner was New London's Fat Boy Restaurant. Will they hit the mark again?

Backing up a day, Friday will be marked by a ship parade and “The Burning of Benedict Arnold” — a theatrical effigy burning of the Norwich native who betrayed America during the Revolution. That will be presented by New London’s Flock Theatre and promises great fun and humor.

Public ship visitations will be available all weekend, so be sure to tour the Navy’s USS Lassen, a missile destroyer; the Mystic Whaler; and The Amistad, as well as plenty of other out-of-town and Coast Guard vessels that will be sailing into New London for a long weekend visit. For a full line-up of the festival's events, check out www.ctmaritimefest.com.

Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival, tonight through Sunday, New London's Fort Trumbull and Waterfront Park; free; www.ctmaritimefest.com.

 

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