ESCANABA - Many people came to the Escanaba Marina Friday to participate in activities through the second annual Bays de Noc Maritime Festival.
The festival, which ran from morning into the evening, featured music, craft and food vendors, activities for children, free admission to the Sand Point Lighthouse and Museum, booths and displays from the Teamsters Union, Delta County Search and Rescue Team and Dive Team, and much more.
The festival also featured the educational ship Inland Seas and sailing into Little Bay de Noc aboard the sailboat Friends Good Will.
Jason Raiche | Daily Press
Participants in the Friends Good Will sail-aways into Little Bay de Noc return to dock at the Escanaba Marina during the second annual Bays de Noc Maritime Festival Friday afternoon.
According to Friends Good Will Captain Adele Arlitt, the vessel is a recreation of a merchant vessel built in 1810 to haul materials and supplies across the Great Lakes. It was captured by the British at Fort Mackinac during the War of 1812, before returning to the hands of the U.S. after the defeat of the British at the Battle of Lake Erie.
The replica vessel was built in 2004 for the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven.
"We have it set up so that it is a Coast Guard inspected passenger vessel and we can take people out and show them what it was like to sail in the old days," she explained.
Arlitt said Friday's perfect weather made it an ideal day for sailing Friday, and those participating seemed to have a wonderful time. The vessel will continue its sail-aways into the bay today.
Amy Ocock, of Indiana, was in town visiting relatives and sailed aboard the Friends Good Will.
"We came specifically for the boat ride," said Ocock. "The captain was nice. She explained in child-friendly terms to my daughter how you go about making boats sail, so that was nice."
Mary Sanclemente, a native of Rapid River who now resides in California, was waiting to board the Friends Good Will and said she enjoyed looking at the craft booths and going into the lighthouse, which she had never visited before.
"I just think it's great that they bring things like this into the area," she said. "I grew up in Rapid River, and when I was young, we never had anything like this."
Maria Maniaci, one of the organizers for the festival, said the event drew in a nice-sized crowd.
"The turnout has been good, and we're looking forward to having this help build toward next year, when we have the two-day festival," she said.
Next year's Maritime Festival will coincide with the city of Escanaba's 150th anniversary, and will be held July 12-13, 2013.
"We're aiming at getting three vessels (next year)," said Maniaci. "The Inland Seas, of course, ... an historic vessel that does dockside tours, and another one to do sailing."
Maniaci said organizers are actively pursuing to bring the active U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba to the city sometime next year to coincide with the 150th celebration. The original cutter was sunk in 1943 by a torpedo in the North Atlantic doing escort duty, and many lives were lost.
"To commemorate the loss of those people and have the new Escanaba here would be phenomenal," she said.