Who said the Viking Spirit is dead in Port Washington. That spirit exists in the breasts of a parcel of third grade students in our elementary schools in town. Remember May 20, Harborfest '00 Day, when the rain was pouring torrents of water and the weather was so nasty that everyone stayed home and Harborfest collapsed. Well, these students dragging their parents behind them, were ferried to the Mill Pond where they were so eager to sail their boats made of recycled materials. They came, they sailed and finished their race and the rain never mattered.
Now that the Model Sailboat Regatta is over and our wet and muddy clothes have been laundered, we have decided on how to finish the last part. That is deciding what to award the winners. Usually we gave small toy sailboats to the schools where they were presented to the winners.
This year, however, had a different flavor to the activity. First of all it poured and the conditions were terrible. The official program was scrapped and a more informal style was used. What happened was that at the start only eight or nine participants and their families were there. All clustered together under a small open tent roof. We started at 11:45 a.m. and when the boats were released they just sat there. No wind, and the Mill Pond was smooth as a piece of glass. I hand pushed the boats out into the pond with high hopes that the race would finish in 10 minutes. But everyone got very excited. Parents came out of the shelter and squatted with their children on the shore blowing on the nearby stationary boats with all their might. Meanwhile, as time approached noon, more cars arrived and kids came running out with their own boats. So instead of running additional races I took each arrival boat and tossed it into the water. We wound up with 31 participants, no wind and enthusiastic parents and kids who didn't want to leave. Fortunately, a little breeze came up and some boats managed to cross the finish line. Otherwise we'd still be there.
So, since this year was different, we would like to change our award style and instead honor each participant for a valiant attitude. We declare everyone a winner and award them a Harborfest T-shirt.
And for the entire Harborfest '00 affair I think we should adapt the old Brooklyn Dodger chant "Wait Till Next Year."