Wooden Boat Festivals are like the best reunion, on-the-water concert, antique show, adventure-lover's beer party, weekend learning and inspiration retreat, and holiday church service combined! Seriously, if you haven't been to one... start in Port Townsend, Washington or Mystic Seaport, Connecticut or down-under in Hobart, Tasmania and you'll never regret it. The stories will warm your heart and the beauty will inspire you for the rest of your life.
You don't have to know a thing about wooden boats to enjoy them or quickly sense what it is that makes these wooden works of art so inspiring to people all over the world, regardless of age, gender, religion, aptitudes, or any of those other pesky dividers. Wooden boats bring people TOGETHER! Bring what you've got: curiosity; your unique expertise; an old photo of your grandpa's boat; your dream to build, to get out on your local waters, or sail around the world. At Wooden Boat Festivals, you'll be among friends. Me and (sometimes, where possible) my 1936 Danish spidsgatter (fancy word for double-ender or more precisely two-butts!;) named PAX, participate in Wooden Boat Festivals all over the world.
Here are some of my favorites. When possible, I go every year... or every year these happen!
Check Upcoming events for my latest schedule and if you've got recommendations or want to send an invite, contact me!
Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival - Washington, USA (Happens every year!)
Largest, first, and many say the best (But hey, I love 'em all, so it's sorta the best of a whole cart of desserts.)... due to the intersection of world-wide talent that unites here every years... in North America. More than 200 wooden boats of all kinds are packed together and available for boarding while more than 100 educational demonstrations surround them on the campus surrounding the marina. More than you can possibly see and do in three spectacular, jam-packed days. Includes nearly 100 maritime exhibitors, from tools to books to clothing and educational programs, plus live music, unique kid activities, fine local food, and brews. The first, the largest and the most international wooden boat event in North America. Held annually the first weekend after Labor Day in September. Book your accommodations early and buy tickets online. Visit their website.
Australian Wooden Boat Festival - Hobart, Tasmania AUS (every other or "odd" year)
Largest "purely" wooden boat gathering in the world! If you're in the northern hemisphere, keep in mind that the timing gets you out of our winter, into their lovely summer! More than 500 wooden boats of all kinds fill the historic Hobart waterfront docks. Most are available for boarding. Set in the heart of the city, the Festival vibe permeates the surrounding parks, shopping, eateries and pubs. World class wooden boat speakers, music, art, foods and wine. Held bi-annually every odd year. Next event is February 8-11, 2019. Book accommodations early through their outstanding travel company. The event is FREE. Visit their website.
WoodenBoat Show - Mystic Seaport, Connecticut USA (every year)
VIDEO: 2010 WoodenBoat Show
More than 100 wooden boats of all kinds are moored along the docks or displayed on land in the spectacular Mystic Seaport Museum venue. A year round 'living' museum, Mystic is one of the top destinations for wooden boat enthusiasts worldwide. Couple that venue with the staff and friends of the top wooden boat magazine in the world, WoodenBoat and you're guaranteed an event like no other - rain or shine. Exhibitors range from folk art to top purveyors of wooden boat products. Magazine and book authors are on hand all weekend. Held annually in June. Tickets required. Visit their website.
Brest Festival of the Sea & Temps Fete sur Douranenez - Brest & Dournanenez, Brittany FRANCE (every 4 years - Next is July 2020!)
More than 2000 wooden and history vessels of all kinds and from all over the world fill the historic naval harbors of Brest (watch the video) ever four years and hundreds fill the quaint natural harbor of Dournanenez every two years. Considered the "Mother of all Wooden Boat Festivals," Brest Festival of the Sea draws more than a million people. 18th century traditions, skills, tools, songs and sailor lore imbue this event with unmatched salty flair. Next Brest event is July 2020. Visit their website.
Victoria Classic Boat Festival - Victoria, British Columbia CANADA (every year)
More than 150 wooden boats of all kinds fill the historic waterfront harbor of Vancouver Island's most charming little city. In the shadow of the Empress Hotel and adjacent to pubs, restaurants, shopping, island tour companies and the world class BC Museum. The event is held annually one week before the Port Townsend WBF and is FREE. Visit their website.
Risor Wooden Boat Festival - Risor, NORWAY (Every year)
VIDEO: 2009 Risor Wooden Boat Festival.
More than 150 wooden boats pack the waterfront of this historic Norwegian seaport community. The festival draws the largest crowd to the community all year and includes all the usual range of activities you find at older wooden boat events but with authentic focus on Scandinavian culture, skills, food, music and craftsmanship. The event is held annually. Next event is August, 2018 and I'm finally going to make it! Tap wood. Visit their website.
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