I don't have time to load the photos from the 2-day festival, at least not now. I will load them as time permits. My other blog and projects (always projects) are taking a lot of my time these days.
As many of you know, I had planned on covering the Beatles event in D.C. this Labor Day, but when I thought I was going to be in Georgia, I cancelled my room reservation. Still had my press pass but not my "special press-rate" room at the high-dollar hotel.
I had some other ideas for Labor Day photos, but remembered that Deal Island never gets the full weekend coverage they deserve. I used to cover the skipjack races for the newspaper and even got in a few boat-docking and parade photos one year, but the spirit of this little town, truly a slice of Americana that has not been commercialized like so many other places that vie for tourists, goes largely unreported, at least in photos.
Deal Island (Chance, Wenona, Little Deal Island, Dames Quarters) is a quaint island off the beaten track that offers peace and quiet, fishing, hunting, boating, and a whole lot of, "Welcome Stranger!" attitudes. I like Deal Islanders. It's hard not to like them. They are in no way pretentious. The are a genuine and sincere congregation of people that, when I am there, they make me feel like I am home.
The annual skipjack race is the main fundraiser for the Deal Island/Chance Lions Club. The organization "pays it forward" to the community. In the heyday of the skipjack, around 2000 worked the bay. Today, only around 20 are still in "sailing" condition. I don't know where I will be next Labor Day, but if you want a little history in your vacation, make plans for the Deal Island Skipjack Festival. It's not a big state fair or a nationally publicized event like Pumpkin Chunkin. It's history, a time-honored event that, for 53 years, has introduced thousands to a way of life that is almost gone.
Enjoy the photos, and come back for more.
Note: To those expecting CD's of the event, I will have them in your hands in about 2 weeks.
Car enthusiasts enjoyed the car show
Seafood-lovers enjoyed crab cakes and soft-shell crab sandwiches, fish sandwiches, oyster fritters, boardwalk fries, and all the other expected goodies that accompany festivals.
Shoppers found a variety of items for sale.
For over 50 years, Deal Island has held a Labor Day parade.
Festival-goers enjoyed the music of Front Page News.
There was dancing...
and chatting with the locals...
The Deal Island Youth group was getting out its message while setting an example. Good job! And thanks for the recycling containers.
Event trophies were handed out throughout the 2-day festival. Here are a few of the lucky winners posing with trophies and Master Skipjack.
A young festival-goer gets a lesson in boat building.
Royalty was abundant at the festival.
There were crabs for cute little girls...
And crabs for grown-ups...
Lots of crabs...
Before dark set in, we set up our Honda Element for camping. Many of the locals, some we knew, and some we didn't know, offered us lodging for the night, but our Element makes a perfect bed for a night, or even a week. They were designed for the camping spirits of the world who like to travel without their houses. We settled down after the last band played; the lapping of the waves against the shoreline sang us into a deep sleep. We awoke at 5:30 a.m. and enjoyed fresh hot coffee, courtesy of the Deal Island/Chance Volunteer Fire Department.
That evening, there was more food, more drink, and music by the band Borderline.
Even the rain did not deter festival-goers...
The sun comes up early on Deal Island...
The Deal Island/Chance Volunteer Fire Department was up early, serving hot coffee.
It was almost time for the captains to gather for the race...
First, the captains listen to the rules...
If you have come this far, you may be expecting to see Skipjacks racing. Not gonna happen, I only had time to work the photos from the festival events. And I did it just to show you that the skipjack race is more than just a race. It's a whole lotta fun! Skipjack photos, along with other photos, will appear when I get to them, but they will be coming.
A special thanks to the Captain Casey Copsey, shown right, of the Caleb W. Jones out of Mt. Vernon, MD., for letting me ride aboard. Shown with Captain Copsey is 1st Mate Jim Smith. A lot more photos to come of this captain.
OK, I will show you a photo of the Rebecca T. Ruark. She took 1st place. As you can see the wind was light this day; there were hardly any waves. She got a good start, though, and kept the lead. Congratulations Captain and Crew!
Is the weekend over? Not so fast. There is still food to eat.
And homemade cakes to win...
There were other events that evening including the band Rock Creek, but I had to be somewhere for an evening cookout, as if I had not already had enough to eat. The last event I covered before leaving was the Deal Island Boat Docking contest. Thanks to the organizers for letting me get up-close and person with the boats.
A special shout-out to this young 14 year-old boat docking contestant. If anyone wants to help sponsor this young man next year, I can put you in touch with the right people.
If you visit Deal Island:
Places to eat: Lucky's and Arby's (beer and wine also served)
Things to do: visit Scott's Cove Marina, check out the historic churches and grave-sites - the oldest church was built in 1828, enjoy watching working boats at 2 harbors (harbor that host skipjack races has an almost-private beach, charter a fishing boat, get fresh crabs and oysters (in season) right off the boats, "fish" for your own crabs, chat with the locals, search for sea-glass, be in awe at the sunsets, bird-watch, recharge your life, and take in the unparalleled beauty where bay meets marshland. Oh, and don't forget your camera.