Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival to ‘Celebrate the Sea’ in New London Sept 9 and 10

Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival to ‘Celebrate the Sea’ in New London

Mark Your Calendars: The largest maritime history festival in Connecticut is set for September 9 and 10

The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival will be celebrating the sea at the port of New London with a jam-packed schedule of boat tours, food, music, art vendors, a parade, a rum tasting, the burning of traitor Benedict Arnold and so much more!

The family-friendly gathering will be held Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, Sept. 10. This year’s festival will contain glorious vessels of all types, including U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy vessels, which will give visitors a chance to interact with those who work on or under the sea.

“We are proud to be bringing this significant cultural event to the city of New London,” said Melissa Root, the president of the executive board of the Maritime Heritage Fest. “This family-friendly weekend is filled with opportunities to interact with military personnel and the vessels that our U.S. military uses to protect citizens.”

The boats that will be on hand include America’s Tall Ship, the USCGC Eagle Barque, which is used as a training ship for Coast Guard Cadets; the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, which is the largest civilian Sailing School Vessel in the United States; and the USCGC Ida Lewis, whose primary mission is aids to navigation. And there will be so many more. The Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island will be offering visitors a chance to sail with the ship. Stay tuned for more details.

Other highlights include Saturday’s Mermaid and Sea Monster Parade, which will be held from noon to 1 p.m. There will also be a Steve Elci and Friend’s Performance from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturday and many musical acts throughout the weekend, including the Hoolios Performance and Soul Shot Reggae Performance. One of the exciting new signature events is the first-ever Rum Tropic Distillery’s rum tasting and food pairing.

Purchase tickets here for this event, which will be held Sunday, Sept. 10, from 3 to 4 p.m. at City Pier. The distillery has developed its own patent-pending “smoothing process,” which makes the spirits extra smooth, and they use natural ingredients to flavor their rums and vodkas.

Also, Salt, the inflatable 43-foot-long humpback whale that people can walk through to learn more about whales is a new exciting feature this year. Salt is coming from Stellwagen Bank in Massachusetts and is modeled afte ran actual whale. Salt has internal organs and is used to educate the public on whale behavior and biology, safe boating around whales, and conservation issues. This educational experience will be held on both days from 10to 5 p.m.
There’s also a free fishing clinic sponsored by DEEP Fisheries Division Fishing Clinic, which will be held on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. It includes a free reel and rod for each participant. If you have always wanted to learn how to fish, now is your chance!

“There are many free family-friendly events being held this weekend, so please come on out. There is something for everyone. There will be many interesting ships on hand, including Coast Guard vessels and a U.S. Navy dive boat. There will be music all weekend, including sea shanties. There’s a mermaid parade andfishing lessons will be offered, and that’s not all,” said Dante Piacenza, chair of the Maritime Heritage Festival.

Please check out the website here for the entire schedule of events throughout the weekend. Led by the non-profit organization OpSail Connecticut, Inc. (OpSail CT), the festival’s goal is to educate visitors about Connecticut’s rich maritime history.

The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival also provides the public with opportunities to learn about and interact with maritime services, including government agencies and vessels that protect our fisheries, natural resources, and environment and other sectors of the maritime industry ranging from aquaculture and fisheries to other commercial vessels and ventures focused on everything from transportation to energy.

In addition to the continued support of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Office of Tourism, the 2023 Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival is made possible by the kind contributions of: Hall Communications Radio Group; Cashman; RJ Development + Advisors; Avangrid; Revolution Wind –Powered by Ørsted & Eversource; Dominion Energy; Crocker’s Boatyard; Mitchell College; Yale New HavenHealth/Lawrence and Memorial Hospital; AECOM Tishman; Dime Bank; Garde Arts Center; M&T Bank; City of New London; Flock Theatre; Mariani Reck Lane; Veolia Environmental Services; Chelsea Groton Bank; Connecticut Energy and Environment; Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary; The BEAM; Rum Tropic Distillery. Crew Sponsors are Ed Chale; Blueprints Unlimited; A Beautiful Company; Jay Levin; Andy and Nancy Grant; Randy and Bonnie Waesche, Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, and Saybrook Point Inn.

The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival is an annual, family-friendly festival held in the port of New London every year in September. This festival celebrates Connecticut’s maritime history and invites tall ships from across the nation to gather and educate the public about maritime history and sailing. The Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival is a registered 501(c) (3) organization. For donation information, visit
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