On Labor Day weekend, the 2014 Camden Windjammer Festival celebrates Maine’s maritime heritage and the magnificent windjammers that ply the coast with a full schedule of events around Camden Harbor.

Dates this year are Friday, Aug. 29 to Sunday, Aug. 31. The annual weekend event kicks off with a parade of schooners sailing into one of the country’s most scenic harbors followed by a crew talent show and fireworks.

All three days feature the Maritime Heritage Fair with exhibits of maritime skills, activities, and information about boats, sailing and other maritime endeavors. Saturday’s highlight is the Lobster Crate Race, a chance for the fleet of foot to cross a line of crates… without taking a swim. In the Build-A-Boat Contest, teams begin with the same materials and create a wild array of boats that compete on the water on Sunday. Pancakes and chowder on Saturday keep visitors tastefully entertained. The Sea Dog show takes over Harbor Park on Sunday; man’s best friends are invited to compete in a variety of amusing contests. Sunday also features the colorful attack on Camden by the Pirates of the Dark Rose, with their swords out and cannons ablaze… all in good fun.

The cruising schooners are open for tours Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Or take a ride on one of the smaller schooners for a few hours to get a taste of the seafaring life. On Friday, visitors can bid on a dockside dinner aboard one of the schooners famous for their food.

The Camden Windjammer Festival is the largest gathering of schooners on the East Coast. “When the schooners enter the harbor framed by the Camden Hills, it’s just amazing to see,” said Meg Maiden, marketing director at the Maine Windjammer Association. “The windjammers are powered only by sail and have no engines; several are designated National Historic Landmarks.”

Thousands of people from all over the world attend Camden’s end-of-summer event, celebrating its 20th year in 2014. All festival events are free to visitors and exhibitors, making this truly a community event. Visit camdenwindjammerfestival.org for more information, schedule of events and the latest news.