TOMS RIVER – Sailors who love wooden boats know they have to do quite a lot of work to restore them. It was no different with the Wooden Boat Festival, which was smaller because it is a rebuilding year.
The festival is usually moored at Huddy Park in downtown Toms River. Huddy Park was closed last year, so they had a smaller version of the event at de Rouville’s Boat Shop in Berkeley, on the other side of the Toms River.
It is usually a judged contest, but not this year. The judge was recently injured in a fall, said Chet Ehrman, who has run the festival in the past. He is a trustee with the Toms River Seaport Society, which also operates a Maritime Museum near the intersection of Hooper Avenue and Water Street.
Still, there were more than a dozen interesting boats on display. Everything from a tiny tug boat to a pirate ship replica (complete with pirates). There were also beautifully restored cruisers dating back as far as about 90 years.
“We’ve got some of the best of the well restored sailboats and power boats on the east coast right here,” he said.
There were other kinds of boats there, too. The Scale Ship Modelers Association of North America had a booth. In another area, kids were encouraged to race their own toy boats down a short strip of water.
There were vendors setting up shop, selling boat parts and nautical themed decorations. Food vendors, artists, and crafts filled out the rest of the area.
It was a place where enthusiasts could share their appreciation for their boats, and maybe get tips. There was discussion like “One side of the hull is disintegrating. How do I get that fixed?”
The overcast weather, coming after days of rain, looked threatening although it stayed dry. Deeper into downtown Toms River was a concurrent festival, Summer In The Street. Starting in the afternoon, Washington Street would be filled with tents of people selling their wares, government offices looking to make connections, music and inflatable rides.