CAPE MAY — Harbor Fest: “What is it?” In simple terms, Harbor Fest is an annual celebration of Cape May harbor and its impact on our local economy, culture and recreation. It’s also a reminder that as citizens, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the harbor is never again threatened by those who would abuse it.
“The How” … did it come about? During the winter of 2007 – 2008, a dozen or more abandoned and derelict vessels lay strewn about the harbor directly adjacent the Nature Center of Cape May. In addition to being an eyesore, these vessels represented a very real hazard to the harbor’s environment, navigation, and recreational usage. In addition, at low tide they presented a safety hazard to the many children who participate in Center programs. A committee of interested parties met to discuss how to raise the funds necessary to remove these derelict hulks from the harbor. Thus Harbor Fest was conceived. From its beginning, Harbor Fest has been a joint effort of harbor based businesses and non-profits with the dual goals of cleaning-up and protecting the harbor. Harbor Fest quickly took on a life of its own and evolved into a quasi-street festival complete with vendors, educational displays, entertainment, a Coast Guard SAR demonstration and cooking demonstrations.
“The When” … is it? This year’s Harbor Fest has been scheduled for June 14 beginning around 10:00 and lasting until 5:00. Harbor Fest actually kicks off on the night prior at 5:30 with the Blessing of the Waters ceremony. The Blessing of the Waters ceremony takes place at Fisherman’s Memorial and is a commemorative service and wreath laying in remembrance for those local fishermen who have lost their lives pursuing their chosen profession. It is also an occasion to ask for blessings for a safe and productive season on the water.
“The Where?” Harbor Fest takes place on Delaware Avenue, which is closed for the day- long event. The Nature Center of Cape May, located at 1600 Delaware Avenue, is the “epicenter” for the event and most programming, exhibits and demonstrations are conducted on the Nature Center campus. This is only appropriate since the Nature Center serves as the Steward for Cape May Harbor.
For more information about the genesis of Harbor Fest, or how to participate and support the important missions of the Nature Center, contact the Director, Gretchen Whitman, 609-898-8848 or by email: Gretchen.firstname.lastname@example.org. Crafters and vendors should contact the Cape May City Chamber of Commerce at 609-884-5508.