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Scenes from Small Craft Festival- the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s annual fall celebration of messing about in boats. Small wooden sailing and rowing vessels are convened for a weekend in October by their passionate, dedicated owners- many of whom built the boats themselves.

Anyone, with the owner’s blessing, can jump aboard and take out different small craft, to see how they sail or navigate. St Michaels’ harbor, dominated in the summertime by massive yachts and large sailboats, is now full of small dinghies and skiffs that tack in the slow breeze ¬†with excited passengers calling back and forth. Fish school in the shallows and navigate around buoys marking makeshift moorings that have proliferated for the weekend’s events.

The parking lot turns into a campsite, as Small Craft participants take the party off the water in the evenings and swap stories and techniques and tall tales around a fire festooned with dogs and burgers.

It’s good old-fashioned Chesapeake fun- the kind people can still have, with a tenacious little skiff, a stiff breeze, and a full sail.