In a city steeped in rich maritime history, boats are a big draw. The Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival at The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) has become a July 4th weekend tradition attended by 15,000 to 20,000 people.
In 2009, the annual festival celebrated its 33rd year sharing the maritime culture the CWB helps preserve and celebrate. The festival includes more than 100 classic wooden boats, free boat rides, maritime skills demonstrations, tours of heritage vessels at the Historic Ships Wharf, canoe carving, games, food and music. Kids compete in treasure hunts and pond boat racing, sit in on pirate story time and build toy boats.
Well known throughout the region and maritime community, the festival also draws scores of out-of-town visitors. Admission is free, though donations support the CWB's preservation and education programs.
"[City funding] helped us maintain free admission despite this year's challenging economic environment," said Betsy Davis, executive director of the CWB. "Many of our annual festival sponsors are smaller maritimethemed businesses who found this a difficult year to maintain prior levels of support."