Hail the Harbor’s Mother Lode of Fun

Whaleboat races
Whaleboat races are planned throughout the weekend during HarborFest. Morgan McGivern

    HarborFest 2011 is sailing into Sag Harbor this weekend, offering a slew of things to see, eat, and do. The festival starts tomorrow with a lobster bake fund-raiser at the Whaling Museum, where clams, corn, crustaceans, and live music will abound. A couple of singer-songwriters, Inda Eaton and Dick Johansson, will perform, and there will be a silent auction. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and tickets cost $85.
    A parade with floats and banners courtesy of various village organizations will begin at the Palmer Terrace and Main Street intersection on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and continue down Main Street, ending at the American Legion Hall. Jack Tagliasacchi is the grand marshal.
    The weekly farmers market at Long Wharf, which typically runs from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., will be extended an extra three hours Saturday. Fresh organic vegetables from a number of South Fork farms will be available, as will cheese, seafood, bread, and pastries.
    Additional activities on Saturday and Sunday include an arts-and-crafts fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will offer paintings, photographs, pottery, needlework, jewelry, and other items from East End artisans. Shopping can also be done at a sidewalk sale of everything from burgers to books from Sag Harbor shops and restaurants. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.
    Also running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. those days is Refreshments Alfresco on Long Wharf, serving a wide variety of East End cuisine and wine, as well as a display of vintage boats by the East End Classic Boat Society.
    John Corr will lead a sing-along of traditional seafaring music on Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.

For the Kids
    HarborFest features a number of activities for the pint-size crowd. Kids can head down to Long Wharf at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday for a corn-shucking contest or have their faces festively painted starting at 10 a.m., among other activities and games.
    At the beach by the windmill next to the wharf, children can gather for an old-fashioned boys-versus-girls tug-of-war on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. Sunday also finds Waldo the Clown goofing around from 1 to 3 p.m.

Rescue Boats, Broken Masts
    There are several historical tours and demonstrations to take in throughout the weekend as well. Weather permitting, Coast Guard officers from the station in Montauk will offer a tour of a deep-sea rescue boat at 10 Saturday morning.
    At the same time, the Long Island Divers Association, in conjunction with the Sag Harbor Fire Department, will conduct an underwater dig off the wharf. Not only that, members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary will demonstrate the nautical knots a mariner should know and offer free boat inspections at a floating dock.
    Saturday morning also offers a walking tour exploring the village’s maritime history. It starts at 10:30 and meets at the windmill.
    An Old Burying Ground tour will take in Sag Harbor’s oldest cemetery and the graves of the village’s earliest residents, revealing tales of whaling and Revolutionary War victories. It begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday next to the Old Whalers Church.
    A tour of Oakland Cemetery, which opened its gates once the Old Burying Ground was filled to capacity in the 19th century, will feature the famous Broken Mast Monument honoring many captains and sailors who died whaling. The tour begins at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

History a-Go-Go
    The Eastville Community House will have a historic walking tour through that area of Sag Harbor, including a renowned stop on the Underground Railroad, from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The community house will also offer a tasting of traditional African-American and American Indian cuisine. Tickets cost $5.
    Artists and art enthusiasts alike might enjoy the “art walk on gallery row,” which starts at the windmill at 2 p.m. on Saturday and lasts two hours, winding its way through the galleries on Main Street.
    As the sun begins to set Saturday, there will be a hike to the Cedar Point Lighthouse in Northwest, East Hampton, with the great-grandson of the last keeper of the light. The hike, which starts at 5 at the Cedar Point County Park parking lot, entails a talk about the history of the lighthouse as well as efforts to restore it. Hikers will return by lantern light.
    At 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, a walking tour of houses, called Women’s Lives, will meet at the windmill to offer some insight into the famous or just downright interesting tales of Sag Harbor women, from the philanthropist Mrs. Russell Sage to the feminist author Betty Friedan.
    Festivalgoers can also head to Temple Adas Israel, the oldest synagogue on Long Island, for an hourlong tour at 2 p.m. on Sunday, or get a free antiques appraisal (of no more than two items) at the Sag Harbor Yacht Club on Bay Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Whaleboat Races
    A HarborFest tradition, the Whaler’s Cup whaleboat races off the windmill beach, will start at noon on Saturday. Teams compete on a triangular course of 200 yards in a series of heats over Saturday and Sunday. Defending their titles will be John K. Ott in the men’s division and the Corner Bar in the women’s division. The finals are at 3 p.m. on Sunday, following the Firefighter’s Cup race at 2.
    Also on Sunday at 3 is the Nails and Whales Regatta at the Breakwater Yacht Club. The race is open to the public as long as one person in a competing boat is a member of the club. A female must be at the helm from start to finish. Tickets cost $10, and more information is with Sara Nightingale at sara@sara  nightingale.com.
    Back on land, among the Saturday afternoon competitions are a bucket brigade, a lobster-roll eating contest, and a clam-shucking contest following the final whaleboat race. Pete Ambrose, last year’s winner, is expected to defend his shucking title. Registration is at the Food Pantry table.

Musically Speaking
    Among HarborFest’s musical performances are the Community Band concert at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the American Legion Hall and, at 7, the Singing Boys of Pennsylvania, a choir of 18, at the Old Whalers Church. Tickets cost $20 to $25 and benefit the church’s community house fund.
    On Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sampawan’s Creek will sing sea chanties and folk songs at the windmill.