Monday, September 26, 2011

Working Waterfront Festival -- Day 1

New Bedford Whaling National Park Visitor Center

The Working Waterfront Festival  showcases the fishing industry and the cultural traditions of America's largest commercial fishing port. There's music and food and boats and poetry and oral history and all kinds of activities.
Model Boat at Big Boats, Little Boats demo in Coast Guard Park
We were particularly excited to hear Geno Leech, a fisher poet from Washington, whom we heard a few years ago at the festival and loved. He did not disappoint! He drew a smaller audience than either the survival suit demo or the presentation on the two parlor lobster trap, but he fully engaged with those few of us who came for the poetry.

Geno Leech at the Contest Stage

Rhode Island's own fisher poet and singer songwriter, Jon Campbell, was also fun and also failed to outdraw survival suits and lobster traps. No, nobody could explain the coat hanger hanging over his head. Maybe it had something to do with the survival suits. Campbell had the second best line of the day:  "I ate so much salt cod awhile ago, you could lay me down in the road next time it snows."

Jon Campbell

Most memorable line and life lesson of the day came from the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association guy who was demoing the traditional two parlor trap (he called it the parlor and the kitchen) when asked about the famous UNH video showing how many lobsters passed in and out of a trap when only 2 got caught: "We're trying to outsmart an animal that has no brain."

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