Summer is barely under way, but for the organizing committee of the Camden Windjammer Festival all eyes are fixed firmly on Labor Day weekend. That is when the annual maritime fun fest takes over the Camden Public Landing and harbor in celebration of the schooners that made the Midcoast region world-famous.

For the first time, this year the festival is operating under its own auspices, having successfully transitioned from being under the wing of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce to incorporating as a nonprofit organization.

β€œThis change fulfills a promise made to the town and citizens of Camden by the Chamber,” said Festival Chairman Emily Lusher, who added β€œIt has always been the goal to have the Windjammer Festival truly be of and by the people of Camden as well as those from all over who love the windjammers. Now with our independent non-profit status in place we can focus on harnessing the community spirit, generosity, and pride that is so evident during the festival.”

While the change ushers in a new era for the festival, the need for community support remains critical. With more than 20 windjammers and schooners, scores more private boats, a landing full of exhibitors, a crew of pirates, strolling musicians, and 7,000 visitors and locals taking part in the festival the need for volunteer help and financial support from the community is pressing.

Volunteers especially make this weekend possible and they come from all across the country. Local residents, summer residents, and vacationers of all ages volunteer for at least a four-hour shift during the course of the weekend. Each volunteer receives a Camden Windjammer Festival t-shirt.

Anyone interested in helping to support the festival as a volunteer, an exhibitor, a sponsor, or a donor is invited to contact the organizing committee via the event website at camdenwindjammerfestival.org. There are volunteer and donation forms on the site; or send an email using the contact page. If interested in exhibiting, please note that the festival does not accept commercial vendors and all exhibits must have a maritime or coastal heritage theme.

The festival is an all-volunteer community-led celebration under the auspices of the Camden Windjammer Festival Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It receives no funding from the Town of Camden or the Chamber of Commerce, although both provide valuable in-kind services to the Festival. Funding comes from generous business sponsors and members of the community. It is free to visitors and exhibitors. All donations and sponsorships are tax-deductible and directly support the Festival's mission, with no salaries, wages or fees paid to committee members. Primary sponsors to 2013 include Down East magazine, Cellardoor Winery, Camden National Bank, Rockport Automotive, Allen Insurance and Financial, The First, Lord Camden Inn, Country Inn and Point Lookout.