This weekend the VEB (he’s back!) and I headed down to the Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time down there for work, and I wanted to enjoy the city from a non-work perspective. It’s a beautiful downtown, with cobblestone streets and historic buildings, in addition to what is clearly fairly recent infrastructure improvements. And the culture is interesting – a long history of old Portuguese, Irish and Italian immigrants, and now a new population of immigrants from places like Guatemala and Cape Verde. To be sure, it feels similar to Maine and the Canadian maritimes, the old fishing traditions and the seafaring life abound…but with a bit more international flavor now. Walking down the street feels like New York in some respects; every one is speaking a different language.
It was a beautiful day, although we didn’t get there until mid-afternoon. The line for seafood was long, REALLY long, but we waited in it anyway while listening to what sounded like Zydeco music coming from a nearby tent; fish and chips were the reward (and clams and Del’s lemonade for the VEB). I’m not much of a drinker but I really could have used a beer, however as far as I could tell there was no alcohol being served (it’s a very family-friendly festival, so that makes sense). There were tons of boat-related activities that we did not participate in, though we did catch a bit of what appeared to be a tugboat pushing contest (ie, two tugboats would purposefully but very slowly come bow-to-bow and then rev the engines). Mostly we just walked around and listened to music and people watched. Here are some of the sights:
We ended the afternoon sitting under a tent listening to a band called Crabgrass, fronted by the married Daisy Nell and Stan “Captain Stan” Collinson. Now, one of the few things the VEB and I disagree about is music; in the car together it’s almost always NPR talk shows because otherwise, one of is is grimacing. Live music though is something else entirely, and we both really enjoyed the maritime-flavored / slightly gospel influenced folk music of this group. I had never heard the expression “There may be snow on the roof but there’s still fire in the chimney” before, but they turned it into a quite cheeky little number that had both of us singing along in the back row. Also, the mandolin player (partially obscured in this photo by a child’s balloon) was ridiculously good.
Last but not least, in the “Not My Dog” category, I couldn’t resist this handsome fellow who was quite bored with the tugboat festivities: