July 05, 2006
Fleet Week Festivities Unfold
The streets of Greenport will be swarming with sailors Monday as the village kicks off its first-ever Fleet Week celebration.
After months of planning, the long-awaited moment has arrived: On Monday, six yard patrol training vessels from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis are slated to arrive at the brand-new Mitchell Marina for a three-day stay.
The ships are 108 feet long and are used for at-sea training for Annapolis midshipmen during summer months.
When the yard patrol vessels dock at Mitchell Marina, they will bring a total of 150 sailors to Greenport, including 138 midshipmen, who will paint a colorful portrait on the village canvas as well as provide a boon for area businesses.
"I am excited about all of the activity," said Greenport Mayor David Kapell. "It is clear that the new docking facilities at Mitchell Park are going to be an economic and cultural engine for the village."
At a recent village board work session, Trustee Ben Burns concurred that Mitchell Marina, in its premier season, has already proven to be a port in the storm. In fact, the six yard patrol training vessels made an unexpected pit stop in Greenport in June when severe storms sent their crews seeking safe harbor.
Burns pointed out other vessels have visited Greenport recently, including the tall ship Blue Nose II, and said that none of them would have been able to grace the harbor had it not been for the creation of Mitchell Park's deep-water docking facilities.
The arrival of the yard patrol vessels will be heralded with a host of activities and events, including a formal docking reception complete with a performance in the Mitchell Park Amphitheater by the Navy Band Northeast, who are traveling from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island for the festivities.
Bring cameras: After the performance, the midshipmen plan to ride the carousel as a group. While in the area, the sailors are scheduled to attend dinners in their honor, enjoy a golf outing, and tour New York City.
Other open-to-the-public events planned for Fleet Week include a barbecue in Mitchell Park and tours of the yard patrol vessels (See sidebar for a full list of events).
Fleet Week is just the beginning. Kapell announced last week that the United States Coast Guard Barque Eagle is scheduled to visit Greenport from August 18-21.
Only weeks after opening for its first season of business, Mitchell Marina, featuring 61 transient slips, has been a magnet for tall ships and transient boaters alike.
"This celebration builds on the early success the village has enjoyed since completion of the new deep-water docking facilities located at Mitchell Park," said Kapell.