It is with much sadness that we announce the cancellation of the 36th Annual Gloucester Schooner Festival. Maritime Gloucester and the Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee worked diligently to create alternative options and try to keep this signature celebration going, but the realities of the pandemic and growing concerns for participants and spectators made this a necessary and timely decision.
The Gloucester Schooner Festival is one of Cape Ann’s most beloved cultural events. This gathering of schooners, hosted by Maritime Gloucester, is made possible by the volunteer efforts of over 30 people and local organizations who serve as committee members, as well as the many sponsors and donors who fund the event. Raising money and planning for this weekend is a year-long process and we do not take cancelling it lightly! We had held out hope that there would be a window of opportunity by Labor Day, but it is time to make the call.
“No one is more disappointed than Maritime Gloucester, the Committee, and the Schooners to not be able to offer the Festival this year,” states Michael De Koster, Executive Director of Maritime Gloucester. “While it is a difficult decision to make, we all know that this is the right call and needs to be done sooner rather than later. For the sake of our volunteers, organizers, sponsors, visiting schooners, crews, and city officials, the time to cancel has to be now.”
This year’s Festival would have commemorated the 100th Anniversary of the International Fisherman’s Cup race. “Maritime Gloucester had planned a summer-long series of exhibits, visiting vessels, and programs that would have culminating in one of the best Schooner Festivals to ever grace Cape Ann,” added De Koster. “But the pandemic has changed those plans. We need to make sacrifices and smart decisions now so that we all can return to school, work, and promote the general health of our community.”
Maritime Gloucester is looking forward. The 37th Annual Festival planning has started. “Without the revenues and sponsorships from this year’s events, we will need to work twice as hard to raise funds for next year’s celebration,” states De Koster. “Although we are cancelling our event, we cannot cancel the cultural importance and love of this Festival throughout the community.”
Maritime Gloucester plans to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the International Fisherman’s Cup race by repackaging this year’s cancelled exhibits and programs into a series of events, virtual programs, and lectures throughout the coming year, leading up to a great 101st Anniversary and 37th Annual Festival in 2021.
We thank ALL of the wonderful sponsors, donors, volunteers, City officials and workers, and the Cape Ann community for their efforts and support!
Michael De Koster, Executive Director, Maritime Gloucester
Daisy Nell Collinson, Chair, Maritime Gloucester Schooner Committee