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All Aboard for the First Connecticut Schooner Festival

Plan on learning a lot and having fun and watching them burn a nine-foot effigy of Benedict Arnold!

Credit CT Schooner Festival Facebook page
Credit CT Schooner Festival Facebook page

The first annual Connecticut Schooner Festival begins in a month and area residents can expect to see up to 20 ships, some will be more than 100 feet long sailing along the shoreline and stopping in to invite you aboard. 

The festival is organized by the same group that brought a fleet of tall ships, navy vessels, and Coast Guard ships to Niantic and New London during last year’s OpSail CT, according to the Mystic Seaport’s website. It states that the festival’s purpose is “to draw attention to the important role the sea has played in the formation of Connecticut and the nation, and to honor the role schooners played in that development.” 

There are educational programs throughout the week at both the Mystic Seaport and in New London. There will be a Made in Connecticut expo in New London and a highlight will be the Flock Theatre’s “elaborate historical pageant that will mark one of the city’s darkest moments when a British invasion force led by Connecticut native Benedict Arnold burned a significant part of New London, while other Red Coats under his command attacked and brutally killed many young Connecticut patriots in Groton.”

Afterward, the theater group plans to burn a nine-foot effigy of the area’s most infamous traitor. 

Here’s a schedule of events thus far:

Wednesday Sept. 11

opening ceremony, mystic seaport

ships arrive and dock at mystic seaport

ships open for viewing to seaport visitors

Thursday, Sept. 12

dockside education programs for students from Connecticut schools

U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and CT National Guard displays on New London waterfront

sand sculpturing begins on the waterfront at city pier, New London (kids will have a chance to learn sculpting)

juried plein air painting competition begins at different locations throughout mystic /New London waterfront area

evening: pot luck on mystic whaler for captains and crew

Friday, Sept. 13

3p.m. – 4p.m. – up to 20 schooners arrive at city pier and are available for viewing.

8:30p.m. – 9:30 p.m. – lighted boat parade

Saturday, Sept. 14

9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – schooners available for viewing

11 a.m. – schooners depart city pier for the race

3 p.m. – 6 p.m. – schooners return to city pier and will again be available for viewing

6 p.m. – 9 p.m. – awards dinner at Ocean Beach Park

Sunday, Sept. 15

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – static displays remain for viewing as does the sand sculpture 

In addition to some great schooner viewing and fun, New London is holding The Great New London Chowder Challenge on Saturday.  Local chefs will be competing for “best clam”, “best seafood” and “best creative” People are invited to try as many samples as they’d like, $10 gets you 12 samples and vote for your fave. 

And, here’s a list of schooners that will be participating:

Adventure -Gloucester, MA

Adventurer – Annapolis, MD
Alabama – Vineyard Haven, MA
Amistad - New Haven, CT
Brilliant - Mystic, CT
Equinox - Mystic, CT
Irena - Newport, RI
Lelanta - Sag Harbor, NY
Malabar II - Vineyard Haven, MA
Mary E - Essex, CT
Mystic - Mystic, CT
Mystic Whaler - New London, CT
Niamh - Thimble Islands, CT
Perception - Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Quinnipiack - New Haven, CT
Roseway - Boston, MA
Sophia Christina - Weekapaug, RI
SoundWaters - Stamford, CT
Spirit - Essex, CT
Tree of Life - Newport, RI
Tyrone - Hyannis, MA
Virginia - Norfolk, VA 

You can  check out the schooners ahead of time here.

And you can check here for more information about the festival.    

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