June 13 – 17, 2018 – Kennebunkport’s Launch – Blessing of the Fleet and Maritime Fest is a Kennebunkport-Kennebunk-Arundel Chamber Event brings together locals, fishermen, lobstermen, local chefs, pirates, mermaids, and visitors alike!
Kennebunkport is such a seafaring, fun loving, festival throwing kind of town. Everything in the Kennebunks centers around the water, the beaches, the maritime history and the love of Maine’s nautical heritage. Even in the heart of winter, Kennebunkport celebrates Christmas Prelude and February for Lovers. So where better in Maine than to have a lively marine celebration? Old salts in town will recall that for many years Kennebunkport had a Blessing of the Fleet in June to christen the boating season. Well, dust off your dock shoes, because here comes “LAUNCH” a Kennebunkport Maritime Festival, the weekend following the fabulous fancy food & wine event – The
Wednesday June 13 2018 LAUNCH
Launch Kick Off Garden Party takes place 5-7 at the historic White Columns that evening.
Launch After Hours Party at Old Vines Wines Bar
Thursday June 14 2018
Fishing For Freedom – on the Kennebunk River banks, come salute Veterans from the docks 10am at Nonantum Resort
Timber to Tides at Vinegar Hill Music Theatre 6-9pm – learn how boats where built in the Kennebunks and “launched”on the Kennebunk River, enjoy live music, munchies, drinks, and an auction to benefit Arundel Historical Society.
Pirate Pub Crawl at 8, starting at the floating Spirit of Massachussetts bar, crawling on to Alissons, Pedros and Old Vines!
Friday June 16
The Landing School Epic Launch and Boat Christening, students will showcase their latest handcrafted Kennebunkport boats.
Merchants Treasure Hunt – pick up a map and find your bootie about town in this pirate quest. 1-5pm, maps at Chamber office and local Kennebunkport hotels and inns.
Launch at Maine Art Hill 5-7 Friday visit the new Maine Art Hill Studios, Maine Art Show and Maine Art Gallery community, enjoy lite bites, drinks and music by Ocean Ave band.
Pirates at the Seashore Party at Seahore Trolley Museum – 6-10pm eat, drink and party like a party, ride a trolley too $25 tickets includes 4 drink tickets
Nonantum Launch Cocktail Party – 6-8pm cocktails and hors d’ouevres. Downeast Magazine unveils the Official “Launch! cocktail.” $20 tickets include 1 drink. Down East photographer Ben Williamson will be at Nonantum showcasing his photography.
Friday Pirate Party Crawl begins at Salt & Honey at 8pm, then Alissons, Ports of Italy, and Old Vines Wine Bar.
Saturday June 17 “launches” with a Sailors & Sirens 5k fun race at 9:15am at the Pilot House tent, mermaid & sailor costumes encouraged – hosted by the Downeast Divas. For little runners, there’s a Dolphin Run 1k. Post Race party at Pilot
Launch Chalk Fest featuring local sidewalk art will take place at North Street Firehouse 10-5.
A “Captain’s Cook-Off” will take place at The Waterhouse Pavilion in Kennebunk, this chef competition over seafood, blueberry and maple specialties should be dishy as local talents compete for a panel of peers, 11-1pm with local food trucks and Kennebunk’s Farmers Market as well. There will also be kids cooking contest.
A Captain’s Garden Party is 1:30- 4 at Captain Lord Mansion & The Captain Jefferds Inn.
Kennebunkport Historic Walking Tours features historic characters from 10– 4, and a re-enactment of the sinking of the Isadora at White Columns
“Walk with Ben” Director of Photography at Down East magazine from Nonantum Resort, a pictoral guided tour 3pm, limited tickets for sale.
Scalawags and Salty Dogs Party at Kennebunkport Marina to benefit the Animal Welfare Society, 3-5pm Yappy Hour with dog treats and fun.
Saturday’s Maine Lobster Bake at The Pilot House will be held with entertainment 4-7 on the Kennebunk River.
Saturday night’s VIP “Rock the Boat” adults-only evening event 8-11pm is a great place to watch the boat parade aboard the Spirit of Massachusetts, tickets are $50 to get on board this dancing floating affair. Kennebunkporters know how to have a good party, pirates, mermaids, sirens and sailors. After all, this is a drinking village with a fishing problem.
River Lights Boat Parade is LAUNCH’s signature event on the Kennebunk River at 9pm Saturday, local boat owners are invited to deck their boat decks with lights and lavish decorations and parade in formation from Colony Beach up the Kennebunk River while spectators line the River banks to enjoy the flow and show of lights floating past (might plan your spot now at Stripers at The Breakwater Inn, Nonantum Resort, Arundel Wharf or The Boathouse Bar).
Launch’s“ Last Boat” in the parade will be filled with local families battling cancer, so be “shore” to cheer for them. Kudos to the Chamber for organizing such an inclusive event.
Sunday morning, June 19, LAUNCH weekend concludes with the traditional Blessing of the Fleet at Cape Porpoise Pier, wishing captains and crew a safe and bountiful season at 8:30am.
Launch Chalk Fest local sidewalk art on display at North Street Firehouse 10-3.
Something’s Fish Father’s Day Fun – Seashore Trolley Museum Sunday 10-5
Scenic Cruise on Kylie’s Chance departs from Performanc Marine 11am, 1 & 3 pm
See our Top 10 Reasons We LOVE LAUNCH! Other LAUNCH events during the weekend include Cove Walks, Goat Island Lighthouse Boat Tours, a Shipping Village visit, historic maritime tours with costumed characters by The Brick Store Museum and White Columns – Kennebunkport Historical Society, and a Buoy Bounce.
Leave it to the locals to launch such a fun festival, the week following the lavish wine and dine Kennebunkport Festival June 5-10. Why dry up when you can party in your preppy nautical attire all season long?!
Sea you at LAUNCH, where Kennebunkport, Kennebunk and Arundel celebrate local seafood, shipbuilding, and salute fishermen, lobstermen, captains and crew. Kennebunk and Kennebunkport’s deep nautical history and passion for the ocean are what make this Maine seaside community such a special place.
For seaside lodging during the Launch festival, see our guide to inn and hotels in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. For the best places to eat in the Kennebunks, see our restaurant guide. For boat charters, sailing and whale watching, see our guide to boating on the Kennebunk River.
Photos and Content Copyright KennebunkportMaineLodging.com 2018