Cundy’s Harbor Days was back the weekend of Aug. 6-8 with most of its marquee attractions after COVID-19 concerns scuttled some of last year’s events.
Kids and a few adults scampered across wooden lobster crates and blindfolded rowers blundered their way around Holbrook’s Wharf in two popular events that returned Saturday.
Father-and-son team Bob and Michael Wexler beat four other boats to win the blindfolded dinghy race.
The Wexler family was defending its crown from the last race, in 2019. Bob and his grandson, Gabriel, won that year. Bob guides while the younger Wexlers row. Bob and his wife, Gayle, also have a championship from some years back.
“The secret was getting a good start,” Bob said of Saturday’s competition.
Each team pays a $5 entry fee and the winner takes all. Last year, the Wexlers spent their winnings on apparel from Holbrook’s General Store. Bob said they would likely do the same this year.
In the lobster crate races, Charlie Miller won the most competitive division, for racers under 100 pounds. Racers who made it to the end of the crates and back without falling into the harbor advanced to the final round, judged by fastest time. Miller dashed along the crates in 14 seconds and change to take the cash prize.
In the 100- to 150-pound division, Nicholas Brady was the only racer to make it all the way to the end and back, taking the title. The last division, for racers over 150 pounds, didn’t see a single participant make it back to the float dry. Sam Annable came out on top for crossing the most crates before falling in.
On Sunday morning, dozens of fishing vessels filed by the wharf at Watson’s General Store for the blessing of the fleet. Veronica Gonsior, pastor of Cundy’s Harbor Community Church of the Nazarene, led the ceremony.
As each boat approached the wharf, Gonsior waved an evergreen bough and said, “In the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit,” with the crowd on the wharf joining her for “God bless you and keep you!”
Afterward, Buster Darling took Gonsior and others out on his boat, Endangered Species, to lay a wreath in the harbor.
Meriel Longley, president of the Cundy’s Harbor Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary, said the lobster roll luncheon at Cundy’s Harbor Community Hall was well attended. Down the road, the community church hosted a craft fair and quilt show.
A parade came together just days before the festival started, when a volunteer organizer stepped forward. The brief procession included classic cars, fire trucks and floats, as well as walkers and kids on bikes.
The only key event missing was the Fishermen’s 5K and Splash, a foot race followed by an optional leap into the harbor. The race was scrapped when a volunteer director could not be found.
A coalition of Cundy’s Harbor institutions organize the festival, which the village has celebrated for more than 25 years. The auxiliary, the community church and the Holbrook Community Foundation are among those institutions.
Overall turnout was “kind of low” in comparison to pre-2020 numbers, according to Longley, perhaps due to the cancellation of some events last year.
The success of future Cundy’s Harbor Days will depend on volunteer recruitment, but the festival is not alone among village initiatives in need of volunteers.
“Just about every organization in Cundy’s Harbor could use more volunteerism,” Longley said, including the auxiliary and the fire department.
To inquire about Cundy’s Harbor Days volunteer opportunities, email Longley at firstname.lastname@example.org.