Down East show goes beyond boats

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The fifth Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show drew 13,000 with its mix of boats, art, crafts and dogs

The fifth Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show drew 13,000 with its mix of boats, art, crafts and dogs

Record attendance on opening day set the pace for the fifth annual Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show, Aug. 10 to 12 on the Rockland waterfront.

Some 13,000 visitors inspected the 100-plus vessels lining the docks and waterfront, enjoyed displays, music, food, lectures and children’s activities, and talked with boatbuilders, realtors, architects and craftspeople.

They also bought boats, fine art, jewelry, furniture, crafts — the “things that bring them joy,” says John K. Hanson Jr., show founder and publisher of Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors magazine.

Kylie, the Border Collie from Journey’s End Marina in Rockland, defeated seven competitors for the Pup Cup in the Annual Boatyard Dog Championship, the signature event for this show dedicated to all things Down East.

The boats, of course, headlined the show. Many illustrated their lobsterboat heritage. Others, including Sabre Yachts’ 52-foot Salon Express Motor Yacht and French and Webb’s 50-foot cold-molded ketch, Wings of Grace, which the magazine rated its 2005 Boat of the Year, combined traditional craftsmanship with modern materials.

This year organizers expanded the selection of smaller sailing, power and paddle craft, which were of equally varied designs, from everyman’s boats to tiny, finely crafted jewels.

Folks tried out pulling boats while youngsters raced Optimist Prams and boaters of every stripe cruised the harbor. Land-bound show-goers gladly shed their shoes to board vessels, many featuring exquisite joinery work, and impressive varnish, brass and chrome.

Nautical amenities and necessities shared shoreside space with booksellers and non-profit organizations, electric cars and solar panels, paper-makers and woodworkers, artists and stone masons, among others.

“The home section of our show reflects the diversity of outstanding craftsmen from a wide variety of fields, [giving the show] a unique combination of fine boats and fine craftsmanship,” Hansen says. “Here visitors can arrange to buy, build, equip, repair and store a boat, and also find all the amenities to furnish and decorate their home’s interior and exterior.”

Rockland organizations joined the concurrent “Coastal Creativity Week,” sponsoring the Latitude 44° Art Exhibit and Auction (Atlantic Challenge Foundation), “Paint the Town” Event and Auction (FarnsworthMuseum), maritime movie classics (Garde Theatre) and garden tour (public library).

The sixth annual Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show will take place on Rockland’s downtown waterfront Aug. 8-10, 2008.