The Camden Windjammer Festival took place Sept. 1 through 3, with maritime displays and crafts on the Public Landing, a lobster crate race, Build a Boat Contest, a pirate invasion, music, dance, fireworks and many windjammers visiting the harbor and open for tours.

The festival is an annual celebration of Camden’s maritime heritage and working waterfront traditions, organized by the town's Parks and Recreation Department.

On Sept. 1, the Maine Windjammer Association presented Capt. Jim Sharp with its Lifetime Appreciation Award at the Harbor Park stage, just before the Schooner Bum Talent Show got under way.

Sharp has been part of the schooner world since the 1950s, and was one of the early members of the Maine Windjammer Association during the time he owned the Stephen Taber and Adventure. He has devoted himself to rebuilding more than 30 vessels and showcasing the coast of Maine as a schooner captain. In 2009, he and his wife, Meg Sharp, came out of retirement to renovate the old Snow Shipyard property in Rockland to create the Sail, Power & Steam Museum and Children’s Museum.

The Lobster Crate Race saw 44 young contestants run a fun and competitive race, with the three top winners covering around 300 crates each. The race was sponsored by Camden National Bank employees. CNB employees built the lobster crate run the evening of Sept. 1, and staffed the race Sept. 2, registering contestants, timing and scoring, and wrapping those who took at dip in the cold water in comfy beach towels they could take home.

A new Build a Boat Contest featured the opportunity for teams of youth and skilled mentors to build Optimist sailboats, and then participate in a fun paddle race in the sailboat hulls in Camden Harbor. Four intrepid teams pushed off Sept. 3 into a chilly Camden Harbor in their Optimist sailboat hulls, which had been nailed, seamed and sealed just the day before.

In a departure from past Build A Boat races, none of the boats sank immediately or after slowly taking on water, and all contestants remained dry. The contestants were confident, regardless of how their boats handled. While some took off on a straight course, others got turned around, yet were steadfast while learning how to steer and coordinate their paddling.

Several key sponsors made Build A Boat possible, this year: EBS Building Supplies provided the plywood, Bench Dogs cut the hull components from the plywood on its Computer Numerical Control machine, and the SIKA Corp. provided the sealants. Adventure Advertising assisted with converting the boat plans for the CNC machine, and Jim and Meg Sharp offered all of the teams a place to finish out the masts and final touches on their Optis at the Sail, Power & Steam Museum.

The Pirates of the Dark Rose encamped at Harbor Park all weekend, and on Sept. 3, invaded Camden Harbor in their boat, Must Roos.

Throughout the three-day festival, Sharp and Camden Harbormaster Steve Pixely kept up a lively narration on the public address system at the town landing. In what is said to be a tradition, Pixely had "The Wreck of the Hesperus," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow read aloud by Camden Hills Regional High School student and harbor assistant Matt Nickerson, and himself read "Cremation of Sam McGee," by Robert W. Service.