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Update: 2012 HarborFest Schedule; Lobster Roll Eating Contest at 4 p.m. on Sunday

Posted on 14 September 2012


6 pm Harvest Sampler and Wine Tasting

Whaling Museum

The Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, a building that is in fact at the heart of Sag Harbor history, both emotionally and physically, will host a reception to mark the beginning of HarborFest, and the close of their seasonal art exhibit, “For the Birds.”  The evening features a tasting of local wines and a sampling of locally grown fruits and vegetables. $10.


8 pm Film: It Happened One Night

Starring Clark Gable. Tickets are $5 at the door. For the $28 dinner and a movie prix-fixe dinner at Dockside




9 am Farmers Market

Long Wharf

The South Fork has long built a reputation as one of the greatest providers of fresh produce and shellfish in the state, with farms stretching from the hilly moraine to the shores of the Atlantic. In recent years there has been a revived interest in hand-crafted, or slow, foods and this year the Sag Harbor Farmer’s Market brings you a collection of farmers and purveyors with some very special items from the farm fields and local bays. Among the items for sale will be fresh organic vegetables, locally made cheeses, oysters, clams, mushrooms and fresh bread and pastries. To 4 pm.


9 am Arts & Crafts Fair

Long Wharf

The East End enjoys a reputation for having some of the most talented artisans and craftspeople on Long Island. This weekend, many of them will set up their booths and tables on Long Wharf for visitors to examine and purchase. Among the items will be fine art paintings, water colors and photographs, pottery, needlework and jewelry. To 4 pm.


10 am Sidewalk Sale

Main Street

The village’s shops and restaurants are invited to bring out their wares to the great outdoors. Clothing, books, collectibles, and even a burger or a slice of pizza to enjoy as you stroll along Main Street shopping in the open air. To 4 pm.


10 am Refreshments al Fresco

Long Wharf

Throughout the day there will be a variety of food options, including a taste of the best from local restaurants, caterers and wineries, hot dogs and sodas from the scouts and snacks to satisfy your hunger as you stroll through the craft fair and watch the annual whaleboat races. Restaurants and food purveyors expected to participate include Bay Burger, Phao, Muse, Tim’s Market, Golden Pear and Bagel Buoy. To 4 pm.


10 am Coast Guard Boat

Long Wharf

Conditions permitting, the U.S. Coast Guard station in Montauk will bring a deep sea rescue boat to Long Wharf this weekend. For those who are understandably fascinated with how our Coast Guard conducts emergency rescues, service men and women will be available for a tour of the craft and to answer your questions.


10 am Face Painting and Karaoke

Long Wharf

Oh, c’mon, we know you’ve always wanted to walk up and down Main Street looking like a cat or a monkey. Well, at least your kids do. This year HarborFest brings a face painter down to Long Wharf to help bring out the inner animal. It’s a benefit for the Pierson Thespians, the local high school theatrical group. To 4 pm.

10 am Classic Boat Display

Long Wharf

For enthusiasts of fine vessels, several classic boats — from skiffs to sailboats — will be on display along Long Wharf courtesy of the East End Classic Boat Society. The Society has also built a new community boathouse in Amagansett, and membership applications will be available this weekend. To 4 pm.


10 am On the Spot Reference

Long Wharf

Staff from the John Jermain Memorial Library will give you tips and help you reference a variety of subjects including Sag Harbor history and homes, and information on free e-books and audio books. To 4 pm


10 am “For the Birds” Art Exhibit

Sag Harbor Whaling Museum

Presented by Peter Marcelle Gallery and featuring work by Dan Rizzie, Andrew Wyeth, Tom Judd, Amy Pilkington, Kimberly Goff and others. To 5 pm.


10 am Children’s Amusements

Long Wharf

Games and activities for the kids. To 4 pm.


10 am Coast Guard Inspections/Knot Tying

Long Wharf

The Coast Guard Auxiliary will be offering free boat inspections over the weekend at the floating dock adjacent to Long Wharf. You can have a trained Auxiliarist discuss the required and recommended boating equipment for your vessel — lights, placards, numbering, visual distress signals, fire extinguishers, etc. Dock slips can accommodate vessels up to 32-feet.

Members of the Auxiliary will also be available to demonstrate tying the various knots mariners should know. To 3 pm.


10:30 am Walking Tour: Maritime Sag Harbor

Meet at Windmill

This tour explores Sag Harbor’s waterfront and the storied people and businesses that helped the community emerge as a dominant whaling port of the 19th century. From its earliest days as a port for trade, helping the farmers of the South Fork move their produce up and down the coast, when clipper ships plied the Atlantic, to its days when whaling voyages started out past Cedar Point for years at a time and the shoreline here was bustling with coopers and stores and sailmakers, to the recent commercial and industrial past when Mobil tankers would bring oil to the tank farm on Bay Street, to today, when million-dollar yachts sidle up to Long Wharf, the waterfront has defined the village.


10:30 am Children’s Story Time

John Jermain Memorial Library

Stories and songs of the sea.


11 am American Beauty Tour

Long Wharf

Sometimes you have to get off dry land to appreciate the place you came from. Capt. Don Heckman takes visitors aboard his tour ship, “American Beauty” for a cruise through local waters. Along the way Capt. Heckman will speak about the natural and historical evolution of Sag Harbor and its surrounding communities, from the time in the 1600s when merchants shipped their goods from Northwest landing to the time in the 1700s when Sag Harbor became a bustling port, to today when the harbor has evolved into one of the most popular destinations along the eastern seaboard.


11 am Corn Shucking Contest

Long Wharf

The kids are invited down to Long Wharf to see who can peel an ear of corn the fastest. Register at the Windmill.


11 am Concert: John Corr

Long Wharf

A master of traditional seafaring music who welcomes a good old sing-along. To 3 pm.


11:30 am Old Burying Ground Tour

Old Burying Ground

Hosted by the Committee for the Old Burying Ground, this tour through the village’s oldest cemetery takes visitors past the graves and tells the stories of some of Sag Harbor’s earliest residents, including whaling captains and Revolutionary War heroes.


12 Annual Whalers Cup Whaleboat Races – Elimination Round 1

Windmill Beach

The guys on those whaling ships had to do something for fun. We bet they raced their whaleboats when things were slow and right whales were hard to come by. Our version pits teams of four against each other, including two rowers, a tiller-man and a harpoonist.

In men’s and women’s divisions, the teams compete over two days, on a triangular course of about two hundred yards. It’s on the last frantic leg along the Long Wharf where the cheering from hundreds of spectators who traditionally line up on the wharf reaches a fever pitch, as fans of all teams try to help carry their boat home.

Elimination heats run on Saturday and finals run on Sunday. Expected to be back to defend their titles, and the right to have their names emblazoned on the coveted Whalers Cup — presented courtesy of the Sag Harbor Express  — will be Team Whalers in the Men’s Division and Sag Harbor Liquors in the Women’s Division.


1 pm Film: Joyeusse Garde: Steinbeck in Sag Harbor

Bay Street Theatre

The celebrated Pulitzer- and Nobel-prize wining author John Steinbeck spent the last years of his life living part-time in Sag Harbor, and it was here where he wrote two of his best-known books: “The Winter of Our Discontent” and “Travels With Charley.” He was also know locally as one of the founders of the Old Whalers Festival, the precursor to today’s Sag HarborFest, and was instrumental in bringing the International Whaleboat Races to the village during the festival in the 1960s. This brief documentary by Tom Browngardt looks back on Steinbeck’s days here, and includes interviews with local residents who knew him well, and rare home movies of the author aboard his boat. Continuously to 4 pm.


1 pm Concert: Community Band Concert

Long Wharf

Many small villages in the last century enjoyed having community bands to play at special events. Keeping with that tradition, Sag Harbor once had a coronet band, and since 1957 has had The Community Band. Playing popular and unusual marches and other band music.


1 pm American Beauty Tour

Long Wharf


2 pm Firefighters Cup Whaleboat Races

Windmill Beach

The fifth annual HarborFest Firefighter Cup races features teams from local fire departments. Expected to be back to defend their title this year will be a team from The Sag Harbor Dive Team.


2:30 pm Bucket Brigade

Long Wharf

Teams pass buckets of water to fill a barrel. Winning team gets prizes.


2:30 pm Children’s Story Time

John Jermain Memorial Library

Stories and songs of the sea.


3 pm Annual Whalers Cup Whaleboat Races – Elimination Round 2

Windmill Beach


3 pm Concert: Hopefully Forgiven

Long Wharf

This group features Brad Penuel & Telly Karoussos Alt-Country/Americana rockin’ guitar duo. Brad came to NYC, and eventually Sag Harbor, from Alabama, by way of the country music scene in Nashville. Telly has long been an influential rock and roll balladeer on the East End.


3 pm American Beauty Tour

Long Wharf

5 pm Historic Walking Tour of Eastville

Eastville Community Heritage House

The Eastville Community Historical Society will welcome guests along on a walking tour through the Eastville area including St. David’s church, at one time a stop on the fabled Underground Railroad, and its 19th century graveyard, the recently restored  Eastville Community Heritage House (a Sears Roebuck kit house from the 1920s), and several historic homes in the area. $5.


5 pm Hike to Cedar Point Light

Meet at Cedar Point Park Parking Lot, East Hampton

The great-grandson of the last keeper of the light leads a hike out to the point, talking about the history of the light and efforts to restore it. Watch the sun go down, then hike back guided with lanterns.


6 pm Concert: Nancy Atlas Live

Bay Street Theatre

Local rock & roll legend Nancy Atlas and her band will rock Bay Street Theatre in this special performance. $15.




8 am Pancake Breakfast

Main Firehouse

Everyone is invited back to the Main Firehouse on Sunday morning for a breakfast of flapjacks. A good way to start off a busy day is with a filling breakfast.


9 am Arts & Crafts Fair

Long Wharf

Local artisans. To 4 pm.


9 Pilates on the Beach

Want a little stretch and tone to get you in shape for the busy day ahead (think walking tours, whaleboat races, clam shucking)? Join us on the beach near the windmill on Sunday morning to catch the early morning sun and do a little Pilates.


10 am Paddleboarding Event

Windmill Beach

Demonstrations and an impromptu short course race. Bring your bathing suit and take a quick lesson, or bring your board and sign up to race.


10 am Sidewalk Sale

Main Street

Stores show their wares. To 4 pm.


10 am Refreshments al Fresco

Long Wharf

Food and beverages. To 4 pm


10 am Classic Boat Display

Long Wharf

Wooden-crafted vessels. To 4 pm.


10 am “For the Birds” Exhibit

Sag Harbor Whaling Museum

Local and national artists. To 5 pm.


10 am Children’s Amusements

Long Wharf

Games and activities for the kids. To 4 pm.


10:30 am Walking Tour: Women’s Lives

This tour will visit houses (mostly) of women who have been born or lived in Sag Harbor. Some famous, some not so, but all interesting. Among them are Sag Harbor’s great benefactress Mrs. Russell Sage, Lady Caroline Blackwood, Anna Elizabeth Westfall, who ran a finishing school for girls from her home on Howard St.; Mary Breck Sleight, the author of Flag on the Mill-Ship in the Bay; Martha Smith Brown, a whaling captain’s wife who sailed with her husband and wrote an extensive diary and author Betty Friedan.


11:30 am Tug-O-War

Before whaleboat racing action starts up again on Sunday, we invite all the kids in the crowd down onto the beach for a good old fashioned contest. We’ll divide the kids up (boys vs. girls is pretty popular, or choose up teams) and get them involved in a challenging tug-o-war.


12 Whaleboat Races Semifinals

Windmill Beach

Come down, cheer on your favorite team and see who will make it into the finals.


12 noon Concert: Jim Turner

Long Wharf

Traditional and classic blues and folk music. To 2 pm.


12 Clam Chowder Contest

Who makes the best clam chowder in Sag Harbor? That’s what this contest seeks to answer and you get to help decide. All the local restaurants have been invited to participate so buy a mug for the opportunity to taste all the different chowders. After you’ve finished, cast your vote for your favorite. The winner gets bragging rights and a neat pewter mug. Both New England and Manhattan varieties are on the block; thick and creamy versus lush and tangy. Last year the Dock House took first place in both divisions and is expected back again to defend their title. Also expected to compete are B. Smith, Bell and Anchor, Cromer’s Market, The Dockside, Golden Pear, Il Capuccino, LT Burger, MJ Dowling, Page at Main and The Paradise. $5.


1 pm Waldo the Clown

Long Wharf

Bring the kids down for some clowning around. To 3 pm.


1:30 pm Oakland Cemetery Tour

Oakland Cemetery

After Sag Harbor’s Old Burying Ground was filled to capacity, the community opened Oakland Cemetery in the early 19th century. While it is still very much in use today, it holds some old and interesting surprises. There are buried there Captain David Hand — the model for James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumpo — and his five (yes, five) wives; there is the stunning Broken Mast Monument, which honors many of the young local captains who died in the pursuit of whales; and the cemetery is also the final resting place of the famed dancer George Balanchine, who likened the cemetery to those in the French countryside.


2:30 pm JY-15 Women in One Design Regatta

Breakwater Yacht Club

The regatta is open to sailors of all genders, but the helmsperson must be female. Women of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to participate. The mission of the regatta is to empower young, old and middle-aged women of all sizes and experience levels, who might not otherwise feel compelled to brave the high seas, and to foster communication skills between the sexes. The entry fee will be $10 per boat, and Breakwater YC will provide boats for an additional $25. Breakwater Yacht Club membership is not required, though it is strongly encouraged. The JY15 is a two person dinghy that is widely used for junior sailing programs as well as for racing. Racing will happen in waters off Havens Beach.

For more information contact Sara Nightingale at or 631-793-2256. $10.


3 pm Whaleboat Races Championship

Windmill Beach

See who gets to take home the Whalers Cup.


3:30 pm Clam Shucking Contest

Long Wharf

After the last oar from the whaleboat races has hit the water, the festival comes to a fevered conclusion with what has grown to be one of its most popular events: the contest to determine Shucker of the Year, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Last year almost twenty shuckers took bivalve in hand. Pete Ambrose took top honors and is expected back to compete this year. Register at the Food Pantry Table.

4 pm Lobster Roll Eating Contest

Long Wharf

Hosted by Bay Burger, this contest honors the participant who can eat the most lobster rolls in a given time. Last year’s winner, Will “The Champ” Millender, consumed six-and-one half lobsters in five minutes.


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8 Responses to “Update: 2012 HarborFest Schedule; Lobster Roll Eating Contest at 4 p.m. on Sunday”

  1. Liza Tremblay says:

    There is an error in the above schedule. The Bay Burger Lobster Roll Eating Contest is on Sunday at 4 pm, not Saturday. It is right after the Chowder Contest.

  2. Dorene (Harter) Decoteau says:

    Wow does this bring back memories!!! Bulova Watch Co. was the ladies’ champions in the Whaleboat races waaaay back in 1976!!!!!!!! The crew included Maureen Bovee, Waltraud Majetic, Sharon Schellinger and myself. Miss those days

  3. Dorene (Harter) Decoteau says:

    Glad to see that they are still a tradition! Way to go Sag Harbor, Miss you!

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