Wooden Boat Festival Update, April 24, 2020

Dear Wooden Boat Festival Community,

After much careful consideration, we feel we have no choice but to cancel the 2020 Wooden Boat Festival. There is great uncertainty of festivals being allowed to happen come fall, and if they are allowed, the conditions may be ones that defy the heart of our Festival—being together, boats rafted up, sharing the docks, the presentations, the food court, the dance floor. But ultimately, it is the welfare of our festival community that has pushed our decision. This will be the first year in forty-four that the wooden boat community will not come together in person to celebrate what we love. What is fall without the Festival? For the sponsors, boaters, vendors, volunteers, presenters, the RV’ers, and all the people that come every year, it’s part of our annual rhythm and lives. We are heartbroken to not come together, but the love we feel for our festival family is ultimately why we choose to stay apart. 

We are mourning the incredible year we had lined up! Poster art from Port Townsend’s famous artist Chris Witowski—that will be hidden in a vault for next year. The 2020 theme was showcasing Croatia, and Croatian Americans with a big focus on the fishing industry. Like the Japanese theme from last year, there are hundreds of thousands Croatian Americans living around the Puget Sound. We were looking forward to sharing their stories, music, food, and culture. I hope we can bring this wonderful theme another year.

This pandemic has changed many things in our lives but the Wooden Boat Festival will be back. It’s in our blood and in our hearts. 

Looking ahead, we have some really fun future festivals lined up for you. We are very excited to have a Nordic Festival in the hopper for 2021, including hosting Draken, the largest Viking ship in the world. And for 2022 we are working on a Native Canoe theme, hopefully including a visit from the famous Hokulea.

Stay tuned for updates about what’s coming! 

Sending the best to everyone from the Wooden Boat Festival and Northwest Maritime Center team. 

Be well,
Barb Trailer
Wooden Boat Festival Director


Wooden Boat Festival Update, March 24, 2020

To our Wooden Boat Festival family,

In this very challenging and uncertain time, I wanted to reach out to our entire Wooden Boat Festival family and let you know that the 44th Wooden Boat Festival is still on as planned September 11-13th!

Applications are flowing in from boaters, vendors, presenters, and musicians. We are moving forward—knowing that when this difficult time is over, we will all want to come together to celebrate the things that mean the most. Our community of wooden boat enthusiasts are a huge part of what ties us together and defines us.

The Northwest Maritime Center is going into a period of hibernation to protect our people and allow the virus to play out. During the hibernation, we will be planning and moving towards what we hope will be a normal Wooden Boat Festival. We have had to cut back in many ways, but we are still here, moving towards the events that we love so much and define the Maritime Center and Port Townsend. Race to Alaska, SEVENTY48, and the Wooden Boat Festival will all go forward if at all possible.

The Northwest Maritime Center itself will be following the protocols of the day, and will likely be closed more than open in the next few months. We will be working from home for now to keep the Festival Fires burning. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. I will be putting out more information as we learn more.

We wish you the very best throughout this challenging time.

Barb Trailer, Wooden Boat Festival Director