Boast the Coast Day Maritime Festival


The 22nd annual Boast the Coast event will take place on Saturday, September 30, 2017 after inclement weather the past two years forced cancellations to the Lewes Maritime Festival weekend. Boast the Coast was conceived in 1996 to showcase Lewes’ nautical heritage and to feature activities that complemented the already long-established University of Delaware’s annual “Coast Day” event.  Coast Day takes place on their Lewes campus on Pilottown Road the first Sunday in October with Boast the Coast always the day before which sometimes means that it is the last day in September as it is this year. There are several new activities scheduled to take place on Boast the Coast Day, including an Oktoberfest from 2 – 6 p.m. in the Lewes Canalfront Park, hosted by the park’s Friends group, two free tours on the Cape Water Taxi to Beach Plum Island Preserve, guided by the Lewes Historical Society, leaving from City Dock and new children’s activities in 1812 Park while the Seafood Tasting is taking place.

The annual Lewes Merchants’ Fall Sidewalk Sale has long been associated with Boast the Coast. It is a three day event, wrapped around Saturday’s Boast the Coast events, beginning on Friday and Saturday September 29 and 30, and Sunday October 1 from 10 am to 5 pm.  Thanks to generous sponsorships from Lewes organizations and businesses, the chamber has offered almost all their events at no cost. There will be a number of free tours available on Boast the Coast day including at the new Lewes History Museum under the auspices of the Lewes Historical Society (LHS), located on Adams Avenue in the Margaret H. Rollins Community Center, as well as two other LHS museums - their maritime history museum in the historic Cannonball House on Front Street and their Life Saving Station.  The Lightship Overfalls, located a little further down Front Street, adjacent to the Society’s Life Saving Station on the canal will also be open for free tours on Saturday, September 30, pending work on its hull.

In 1812 Park, there will be free activities for children and their families including a new activity this year – nautically-themed face painting by Catherine Flaherty and balloon art by Chuckles the Clown. Concurrently, event goers can purchase their lunch at a Seafood Tasting by participating Lewes Chamber restaurant members Irish Eyes (an Admiral Level Sponsor) and Jerry’s Seafood.

At the adjacent Lewes City Dock, New Jersey’s official Tall Ship, the A. J. Meerwald, will be offering free deck tours of their vessel from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Meerwald is a restored oyster dredging schooner.  The “Where the River Meets the Sea” one-hour tours will leave City Dock at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Advance reservations for each of the two tours will be available for 25 passengers per tour and can be made by calling Cape Water Tours at 302-644-7334 and referencing Boast the Coast tour. Tour goers will need to reconfirm their free ticket when called the day before. There will be an additional 25 tickets per tour available on the day of the tour at the City Dock on a first-come first-served basis.

The Friends of the Canalfront Park are bringing Bavaria to Lewes from 2 – 6 p.m. on Boast the Coast Day. The Happy Wanderers, a 16 piece German Band and the “Bairisch und Steierisch” German dancers will perform at the event. Dogfish’s Sam Calagione is brewing a special beer for the Canalfront Park’s inaugural Oktoberfest. Tickets to the Oktoberfest Tent are $10 in advance, aged 16 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased online (  four weeks in advance and at the Lewes Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in the historic Fisher-Martin House in Zwaanendael Park next to the Zwaanendael Museum.

The “Where the River Meets The Sea” tours are a collaboration with two Lewes Chamber members – the Lewes Historical Society and the Cape Water Tours & Taxi, who will be transporting tour goers to Beach Plum Island Preserve, located on the west side of Roosevelt Inlet in Lewes. It is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands in Delaware. Disturbance of the natural vegetation and wildlife by human visitation is prohibited. The island is bordered by the Delaware Bay and the Broadkill River. The 60 minute cruise will leave City Dock at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and will travel up the Broadkill River, past this natural resource, in order to better understand the First Town in the First State as a first rate preserved ecosystem. Along the way, the knowledgeable Lewes Historical Society guide on board will narrate maritime tales of Lewes’ past industries and residents, paired with fascinating facts about local waterfowl and sea creatures that have made the Cape Henlopen watershed area their home for centuries.

Other events associated with Boast the Coast day are: the Historic Lewes Farmers Market in George H. P. Smith Park from 8 a.m. to Noon; the Zwaanendael Museum’s Maritime Program including a lecture, “A Dead Whale or a Stove Boat: the Whaling Industry at 19th Century America,” at 2 p.m. by staff member Andrew Lyter, with Block & Tackle demonstrations and a craft from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; the Lewes Library Book Sale from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at 111 Adams Avenue; the Lewes Historical Society’s Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on its campus at the end of Second Street at Shipcarpenter Street;  and the Cape Artists’ Open House at their Third Street Gallery from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with light refreshments.

For more information about Boast the Coast activities, visit the Lewes Chamber of Commerce website – – or contact them at 302-645-8073; 877-465-3937.