Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum hosts Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival and Maritime Model Expo

On Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2, 2016, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will host one of the nation’s largest gatherings of small boat enthusiasts and unique watercraft at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival XXXIII and 11th Maritime Model Expo.

Maritime Model ExpoThe Model Guild of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the North American Steamboat Modeler’s Association, and the Washington Ship Model Society are sponsors of the Maritime Model Expo. The event was traditionally held in May, and is now being combined with CBMM’s Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, which is annually held the first weekend of October.

Hundreds of amateur and professional boatbuilders, model boatbuilders, and enthusiasts come from all over the region to display their one-of-a-kind kayaks, canoes, and other traditional small craft, along with a variety of maritime models also on display and underway in a large above-ground pond.

The pond will be used throughout the event for model steamboats and other R-C models—including model skipjacks, sailboats, submarines, electrically driven models with modest motors, and self-steered pond sailing models. On-land exhibitions include a collection of static models by Washington Ship Model Society members and other highly acclaimed modelers as well.

During the festival, CBMM guests can marvel at the craftsmanship and innovation used in maritime model making and traditional and contemporary small craft while enjoying CBMM’s waterfront campus and hands-on exhibitions. The festival also gives an opportunity to see three new exhibitions, which are all open for a limited time only. The museum’s temporary exhibitions include A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting, Chesapeake Swan Song: From Commodity to Conservation, and The Unseen Chesapeake: Capturing the Bay’s Wild, Forgotten Landscapes.

Sailing skiffs, rowing shells, kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, prams, and one-of-a-kind boats will be on display and in the water throughout this family-oriented event. Small craft and model boat owners hailing from all over the country will also be available to share their knowledge and boating experiences with guests.

Saturday brings live music by the Royal Oak Musicians to the CBMM’s Tolchester Beach Bandstand from noon to 5:00 p.m. Scenic river cruises aboard the 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle, along with food, and beverages will also be available to round out the weekend festival.

CBMM boatyard staff and Chesapeake Wooden Boat Builders School instructors will be on hand Saturday to offer boatbuilding workshops and maritime demonstrations. Beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, a lively Miles River race of small craft can be watched from CBMM’s waterfront and docks, and from aboard Winnie Estelle during a river cruise. Festival-goers can also vote for their favorite boat, with the People’s Choice award and others announced among participants on Saturday evening.

On Sunday, festival-goers are also invited to bring nautical items to swap or sell at a traditional, maritime swap meet.

For safety reasons, dogs are not permitted on museum grounds during CBMM festivals, with the exception of certified service dogs. Leashed dogs are permitted on CBMM grounds during regular business hours.

The Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival and Maritime Model Expo are free for CBMM members and children five and under, or with general, two day admission of $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $6 for children ages 6 to 17, with all CBMM exhibitions open throughout the event. Boat rides, food, and drinks are additional. For advanced tickets and more information, visit or call 410-745-2916.