Gloucester Gears Up for Labor Day Weekend Schooner Festival

With 24 ships slated to sail into Gloucester Harbor for this weekend’s Gloucester Schooner Festival, the 30th annual event is poised to break the festival’s record for participating ships. The two most anticipated schooners, by far, are the Coast Guard Barque Eagle and the Adventure.

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(Photo by Carl Gustain via

The 295-foot tall ship, the Barque Eagle  the largest of its kind flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in the U.S. government service — will sail into Gloucester Harbor at approximately 1 p.m. on Friday to kick off a long weekend of honoring the city’s maritime history. Free tours of the training vessel will be offered from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Maritime enthusiasts will have the opportunity to ride aboard some of the schooners participating in the race and festival.  To book a sail and purchase tickets go to  Some free spaces are also available for youth (12 to 18 years) on participating schooners during Sunday’s races. To reserve a free slot for children, email or call 978-281-0470.  At least six vessels vying for the Esperanto Cup on Sunday (including Roseway, American Eagle, Amistad and Liberty Clipper) will be open.

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(Photo by Cheryl Briscoe)

This week, Schooner Adventure received permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to sail with passengers for the first time since 1988. That ends a 25-year quest for Gloucester’s boating community to retrofit Adventure. Christened in 1926, Adventure is a registered National Historic Landmark and one of the last remaining wooden fishing schooners that sailed from Gloucester, Massachusetts and one of two surviving “knockabout” schooners (which do not have bowsprits). Adventure was donated to Gloucester in 1988 for preservation as a historic tall ship. Since then, the nonprofit organization Gloucester Adventure, Inc. has toiled to get her back to sea.

Other weekend highlights include a special tour of the Amistad (a replica slave trade schooner) at 11 a.m. on Monday. Entitled “Refuse to do Nothing,” the tour will discuss contemporary world slavery issues.

The festival’s popular Lobsta Bake will return to Maritime Gloucester and Fitz Henry Lane Park from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The $15 meal — along with the Schooner Festival raffle, raises money for youth sailing programs and to bring the Tall Ship Eagle to Gloucester — includes lobster, corn on the cob, a Virgilio’s roll and live music by Old Cold Tater.

The Labor Day festivities will also include a free, vibrant fireworks display over Gloucester harbor at 9:15 p.m.


Lead sponsors for the festival include Building Center of Cape Ann, City of Gloucester, First Ipswich Bank, Market Basket, Americold and Institution for Savings.

To reserve one of the free spots (spaces limited) for youth during Sunday’s race, email Maritime Gloucester at Passengers interested in participating can visit Advanced tickets for the Lobsta Bake may be purchased at Maritime Gloucester at 23 Harbor Loop.


Community Announcements


Good Morning Gloucester has all you need to know about wonderful end of summer events happening in and around Gloucester. Check out GMG’s round-up of community announcements  featuring info on this weekend’s Gloucester Schooner Festival, ticket sales info for the Celebrate Gloucester concert featuring Henri Smith and the New Orleans Friends and Flavours on August 28th as well as Brendan Evan’s August 26th show at the Rockport Community House

Click here to view announcements:

August 2014: Cape Ann Museum Reopening an Affair to Remember

By Carol Thistle

With the Cape Ann Museum closed for renovations the past year, the Gloucester Harbortown Cultural District has sorely missed one of its most cherished institutions. The entire community was thrilled to welcome the museum back this week when it reopened with a gala celebration and guided gallery tours.

And what a way to get back into the swing of things! At Saturday’s gala, board members, staff, local artists and other dignitaries took in a delightful summer eve celebrated with locally-prepared cuisine and the unveiling of stunning new look for the 131-year-old museum.


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The museum renovation features a number of fresh touches and a sense of innovative styling within the historic space. The most prominent example is the installation of a 10-foot-high lighthouse “lens” that bends sunlight in an ever-changing display of color and texture. Naturally, the work was borne of a Cape Ann treasure, with the lens taken from a 19th-century lighthouse once located on Thacher Island, a little more than a mile off Rockport’s coast.


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The Cape Ann Museum’s new look extends well beyond art. The makeover added a small amount of space to the museum (less than 400-square-feet was added to the existing 30,000-square-feet of gallery space) but most importantly, it added important amenities and systems, including a new restroom (complete with the “Strong Breezes and Passing Clouds” installation by local artist Diane KW that highlights reclaimed material from shipwrecks), a remodeled lobby, modern lighting and new wall space for showing the featured collection of works by Gloucester’s Fitz Henry Lane (The Cape Ann Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Fitz Henry Lane oil paintings and pencil drawings.) Other improvements include new heat and air conditioning systems and sprinkler upgrades.


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The “new” Cape Ann Museum may just be getting started. The museum’s staff and benefactors are committed to increasing awareness of the facility in Gloucester, on Cape Ann and across the world, not only by promoting the institution’s trove of works by celebrated artists (for example Winslow Homer and modernist Nell Blaine), but also by featuring contemporary artists.

With more staff than ever and new exhibitions planned, the restored Cape Ann Museum is poised to become an even greater part of the cultural scene in Gloucester. The Cape Ann Museum is a wonderful treasure. Congratulations to everybody who helped the museum take a bold step toward a brighter future.

Municipal Harbor Plan On the Move

By Sarah Garcia, Harbor Planning Director

The 2014 MHP (Municipal Harbor Plan) has taken a big step forward from the 2009 Plan by providing a data-driven foundation for maritime economy expansion, a less restrictive Designated Port Area, the framework for simplified permitting and a road map to bring about necessary local zoning changes and development tools that are essential for new investment on the working waterfront.


Here are a few highlights of the plan, which was overwhelming endorsed by the Gloucester Harbor Plan Committee in July.

Development tools to promote growth

The MHP recommends a simpler regulatory framework for development that will encourage a healthy blend of mixed-use and protection of the core water dependent industrial zone. At the same time, the plan recommends that the City review existing zoning codes to better preserve harbor front land for building footprints and public access. The plan also calls for establishing a vehicle or organization with the tools to effectively promote real estate development.


Mining data for growth

The City’s first-ever, in-depth, data-driven analysis of maritime opportunities (including detailed dockage and fishing vessel study conducted by the Fisheries Commission and Urban Harbors Institute, UMass Boston) yielded dramatic and telling information. One third of the local Gloucester workforce works in marine dependent industries.


Leveraging data to drive change

The 2014 Plan leverages a first-ever economic opportunity analysis of Gloucester’s fishery, tourism, and diversified/compatible working waterfront industries in the fishing port (opportunities such as marine genomics, robotics, and research) to influence the State’s analysis of core water dependent industrial uses allowed of as-right in DPAs throughout Massachusetts.  This data is helping to drive a long-overdue modernization of state-wide changes to the DPA regulations, which are currently in draft form.


DPA boundaries that reflect Gloucester’s existing fabric

The removal of two areas of the East Gloucester DPA in April reflects the area’s significant residential and recreational boating uses and eliminates industrial restrictions on this pre-existing mixed-use commercial area.


Stakeholders on the working waterfront are encouraged by the progress made in advancing the Gloucester MHP. The process will continue with submission of the 2014 MHP and DPA Master Plan to the State for review and approval. Copies of the Plan will be available at the Sawyer Free Library, the Community Development Department on 3 Pond Road, and at City Hall.  The Plan also will be posted on the city’s website on the harbor planning and development page.

Be sure to visit Gloucester 2.0 for more information as it becomes available.



Community Announcements


Check out Good Morning Gloucester’s list of recent community announcements and upcoming events. Featured events include the Celebrate Gloucester Benefit Concert on August 22 featuring the James Montgomery Band & Sax Attax Horns, The Gloucester Schooner Festival during Labor Day Weekend, a recap of this past weekend’s Downtown Gloucester Block Party and much more. Click here for GMG’s announcements.

August 2014: More cool events for a hot month!

By Carol Thistle

Summertime in Gloucester continues to roll on with more two of our largest events—plus a new nature-themed event. We hope you can join in the fun!

Stage Fort Celebration of Arts and Crafts, Take 33

The 33rd annual Gloucester Waterfront Festival takes place on Saturday, August 17th and Sunday August 19th at Stage Fort Park. This FREE event, which runs from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both days (rain or shine), is a community tradition that combines a substantial—more than 175 in all—assembly of “juried” exhibitors from across the country with lively entertainment food.

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In addition to countless unique art works and creations, the thousands who attend each year enjoy live Ragtime and Celtic music, a tantalizing assortment of festival and ethnic foods, and The Rotary Club of Gloucester’s annual pancake breakfast (on Saturday, between 7:30-11:00 a.m.) The waterfront never looks better than when the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and its event partner Castleberry Fairs showcase things like jewelry, pottery, quilts, watercolors, dolls, metal sculpture, stained glass, music boxes … and so much more. Be sure to check out the great local cover band “Just Like Newman” and the North Shore Old Car Club Antique Auto display, both on Sunday.

Block Saturday Night For Downtown Fun!

The city’s biggest street fair is back for seconds on Saturday night as the Downtown Gloucester Block Party, Act 2 takes center stage beginning at 6:00 p.m. This weekend’s fun features a highly anticipated assembly of guitarists, mandolinists, banjoists and singers, along with al fresco dining at Main Street restaurants, storefront shopping at every turn and delightful Kids’ Town activities.

This week’s music performers include Dr. Bones’ Circus of Marvels, Treehouse Charlatans, Gyro Lula, Livin’ on Luck, Joe Wilkins Noise, Steve Caraway, Old Cold Tater and The Sugartones. Another great new feature, Art Town on Center Street, offers works by artists and artisans display. For those bringing young children, be sure to visit Mary Poppins at Kids Unlimited at 6:00 p.m.

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If this wasn’t enough fun, the “Get Outside Center” will host its grand opening at 186 on Main Street between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. with free snacks, tunes and nature videos. The opening will feature a critter-cool Vernal Pond Reptile exhibit in front of Toodleoos, an Osprey nest exhibit and an Animal Eyes Art exhibit. Adventure Awaits!

Event contact info:

Gloucester Waterfront Festival

Call (978) 283-1601 or visit

Downtown Gloucester Block Party

Valerie Marcley,

Get Outside Center

Garry Dow, Kestrel Educational Adventures, (978) 515-7177 or

Community Announcements


Take a look at Good Morning Gloucester’s list of current community announcements and upcoming events. Featured events include a Back to Basics show by Art in Lanesville on August 9 and 10, the grand opening of Gloucester’s own Get Outside Center on August 16, and a public beach cleanup at Good Harbor Beach on August 20. Follow the link for more information and be sure to visit GMG whenever you are looking for Gloucester news and photos.