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Originally published in Compass, June 28, 2012
Waterfront Wednesdays brings out the music
Destination Castine

by Anne Berleant

Beginning in July, and continuing each Wednesday through the end of August, Castine is transforming its waterfront into a live music venue.

But there’s more to Waterfront Wednesdays than just bands. Danny Murphy’s will be on hand for open-air grilling, and downtown businesses are encouraged to keep their doors open. Dockside, The Breeze offers ice cream, international fare and seafood to eat at picnic tables overlooking Castine Harbor.

Why the big effort to turn the waterfront into a destination for landlubbers and boaters?

Waterfront Wednesdays is part of an ongoing plan to revitalize Castine, born from a Comprehensive Plan adopted by the town in 2010.

The Community Economic Development (CED) committee works under the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee. Members are appointed by selectmen and volunteer their time and energy toward the common goals outlined in the comprehensive plan.

“Community development needs to be part of what we’re doing,” said Sue Walsh, who, as the town’s economic development consultant, helped create Waterfront Wednesdays with the CED.

In fact, Castine Community Economic Development recently changed its name to add the word ‘community.’

“That name change was really in recognition of this being a bigger issue than strictly economic development,” said Walsh.

To celebrate the series’ wrap-up, on Wednesday, August 29, after the music ends, a parade of boats will motor or sail down the harbor in full regalia.

“We’re asking them to be decked out,” said Walsh.

An emcee will announce each vessel as it passes the town dock, and folks can vote for their favorite. The winner will receive a trophy and the honor of being the biggest crowd-pleaser.

That same evening, the CED will announce the three winners of a summer-long raffle. The prize packages consist of items donated from local merchants and artists, such as 10 pounds of lobster, gift certificates, a portrait by artist Susan Adam, a brooch by metal smith Lyn Mayewski, a Castine Kayak Adventures trip, and more.

“The response from the merchants has been overwhelming,” Walsh said.

Brightly colored raffle boxes will be on hand at the waterfront on Wednesday nights, at downtown businesses and at the Thursday farmers’ market throughout the summer. Proceeds from the raffle will be used to keep the CED moving forward in its plans.

One CED plan that received some tangible results was its application to the Maine Downtown Network program. Castine was added to the list last month, and representatives from the state-run program are scheduled to be here on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 18.

“It wouldn’t be a stretch for them to stay for Waterfront Wednesday and dinner,” said Walsh.

TradeWinds Market Place and Danny Murphy’s are lead sponsors of the series.

Waterfront Wednesdays Schedule of Events

July 4 - Willy Kelly & sons

July 11 - Retro Rockerz - 60s rock ‘n roll

July 18 - Midnight Rose

July 25 - Mike & Susie Fay - folk & blues

August 1 - Blue Seville - jazz

August 8 - Shades of Blue - jazz

August 15 - Shillelagh - Celtic

August 22 - Atlantic Clarion Steel Band

August 29 - Downeast Fiddlers & Trinity Chicks with Tim Hall

Concerts are free; donations encouraged.

Boat parade: Information and registration: Sue Walsh at 326-4502.

Raffle tickets: Tickets sold through August 24. Winners notified beforehand, announced on August 29.