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The weekend features beautiful boats to admire, some professionally built and maintained, others the work of talented amateurs. They range from canoes and kayaks to sailboats to fiberglass classics to glorious mahogany runabouts. Saturday’s adjacent Maritime on Madison Street Festival showcases local merchants and features great food, shopping specials, children’s activities, and music. One highlight you don’t want to miss is the wild Sikaflex Challenge boatbuilding contest. Beginning Saturday, teams of amateurs rush to build plywood boats, decorate them, and then on Sunday finally race them on the water! Some will actually float and finish, others may not. Come cheer them on. Boats, music, boat rides, great food and the museum itself- don’t miss this weekend.
Festival visitors can roam the docks, take in the displays, eat great food, talk with the skippers, and then cast a ballot to choose a People’s Choice Boat of the Year. Registered skippers will vote to choose Boats of the Year in a number of categories; Classic Inboard, Classic Outboard, Sailboat, Classic Fiberglass, Non-powered, Model Boat, Unique Craft, and overall Skipper’s Best of Show. For a small admission fee, anyone can tour the museum itself and the museum’s signature vessel, the century-old sea-going tug, the John Purves.
Friday is filled with special pre-festival activities for registered boaters. Our annual 10-mile “Bay-to-Lake Lighthouse Cruise” will take our fleet of classic boats past one of the largest shipyards on the Great Lakes to the Sherwood Point Lighthouse on Green Bay. We’ll snap pictures and then return to downtown Sturgeon Bay to tie up for lunch. Following lunch we’ll cruise to glorious Lake Michigan through the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal and take a look at the Coast Guard Station and its Lighthouses before reversing course and returning to the museum. The cruise is a fun way to get those classics out on the water for some fun before the festival opens. That evening, skippers and crew will enjoy a complimentary cocktail reception in the museum. It’s a great way to jump-start a weekend of terrific classic boating.