Georgetown’s Wooden Boat Show Sails to Success Again

16 Oct

Georgetown’s Wooden Boat Show Sails to Success Again

“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” – Author Kenneth Grahame

Georgetown’s iconic Wooden Boat Show got the wind back in its sails for its 32nd outing Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, after being mostly sidelined in 2020 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Attendees of the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show check out a variety of wooden boats exhibited on the waterfront. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

Thousands made their way along Front Street and the Harborwalk Saturday to take in all that the festival brings to historic Georgetown as one of the premier events on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®. Similar crowds were expected as the event continued Sunday, featuring the Corrugated Boat Regatta.

Organizers of the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show, who are members of the Harbor Historical Association, said they were pleased with the turnout, as well as the weather, for the event. She said although there were less teams competing in the Wooden Boat Building Challenge event, they saw the most sponsor support than ever and there were more than 100 wooden boat exhibitors.

“We are overwhelmed with the numbers of people who came out to take part in this year’s Wooden Boat Show,” Susan Davis said. “We weren’t sure if people would want to come out, but people seem really happy to be outside in the beautiful weather.”

Crowds filled Georgetown’s Front Street on Saturday as the Wooden Boat Show returned for its 32nd year on Oct. 16, 2021. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

The Wooden Boat Show – always held on the third weekend in October – features one of the Southeast’s best wooden boat exhibits with more than 100 classic wooden boats displayed on land and water, boatbuilding, a corrugated boat race, children’s model boatbuilding, a youth sailing regatta,  knot tying, maritime arts and crafts, and food. The Show is produced by the Harbor Historical Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All proceeds benefit the South Carolina Maritime Museum, one of five museums that can be found in Georgetown’s historic district.

In 1996, the Harbor Historical Association launched a dream to create a museum that would celebrate the maritime history of South Carolina and Georgetown, the state’s second largest port. In 2011, with community support, the South Carolina Maritime Museum opened on the waterfront in historic downtown Georgetown. The museum is home to the prized Fresnel lens of the old North Island lighthouse, our mission is to create enjoyable experiences for both young people and adults by featuring exhibits, programs and events related to South Carolina’s rich and remarkable maritime history.

Attendees of this year’s Wooden Boat Show, locals and visitors alike, said the first day of the event was spectacular.

“It is a beautiful day in Georgetown,” local resident Niki Howard said during the event. “It is nice to see everybody and reconnect with the community.”

Cheyne Bacorn, a student of Paden City High School in West Virginia, takes off rowing in a race across the Sampit River in a boat that she and others from the school built. She came in first in her heat. (Photo by Clayton Stairs/Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce)

David Frost of Carolina Forest, who was with his wife, Anne, said they were glad to be back after a year off. They have been coming to the event for about eight years. He said he enjoys seeing the craftsmanship of the boat exhibits and the boat building competition mostly.

“After not coming for a year, we kind of missed it,” he said. “This event is always circled on our calendar and we are glad to be here again this year.”

Anne Frost said, “We love visiting Georgetown, with its waterfront, historic, old-South atmosphere. It is a special place.”

Stacey Yoho, a business education teacher at Paden City High School in Paden City, West Virginia, was with other teachers and students from the school who built and raced a wooden boat in the Wooden Boat Building Challenge. She said the event was wonderful.

“The kids are just in awe of the art and the beauty of everything going on here,” she said. “Some of the other teachers and I have had a chance to walk around and see all of the exhibitors and vendors and we were just amazed.”

The Wooden Boat Show’s 32nd outing came as the historic seaport has once again found itself in the running for Best Coastal Small Town in a contest by USA Today and 10Best. Georgetown won the designation in 2018 and has competed for it annually since then, as well.

— By Clayton Stairs, tourism manager, Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast®

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