Marina Fest Celebrates Sister Bay’s Boating History 

When Marina Fest takes over the Sister Bay Marina Labor Day weekend, it may look like just another festival. But its roots run much deeper. 

“Yes, it’s another fall festival – or the start of the fall festivals – but it’s also a celebration of the end of the boating season,” said Scott Baker, one of the festival’s committee members. “We have a beautiful, 150-slip marina, so this is a way to highlight it.”

A highlight of any marina is, of course, the boats, and the vintage wooden boats on display at Marina Fest tell a story of Sister Bay’s maritime history and offer a fun stop for boat enthusiasts, or even those who just crave a touch of nostalgia. 

“Years ago, Jack Bunda got the idea that [the village] should have a wooden-boat show at the marina,” John Blossom said. “So really, Jack created what was Marina Fest back then.”

Shadow. Photo by Len Villano.

That tradition continues Saturday, Sept. 3, when 25-30 vintage boats will be on display as part of the festivities, including the 1929 Chris Craft wooden runabout, the Shadow, previously owned by Jack Bunda and recently purchased by the Sister Bay Historical Society. The boat has spent its entire life in Sister Bay, with only two owners prior to the historical society.

Like many of the boats that will be on display, these wooden boats showcase and help preserve an important part of Door County’s boating history. 

“For some, it’s an appreciation of the workmanship and the gorgeous craftsmanship, but for others, it’s sentimental,” Blossom said. “People will come up to me and say, ‘My dad had a boat like this,’ or ‘I remember growing up with a boat like this.’” 

The vintage boat show kicks off at 8 am and will be on display until 5 pm. Marina Fest activities take place throughout Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3-5.

Kids’ boat building is one of several activities planned for the festival’s youngest attendees. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

2022 Sister Bay Marina Fest Schedule of Events

Sister Bay’s Marina Fest includes fun for the whole family Sept. 3-5, with food, beverages, kids’ games, boat building for kids, arts and crafts, a tractor-pull contest and music spread from Waterfront Park to Marina Park. 

Saturday, Sept. 3

7-10 am: Pancake breakfast on the grounds north of Village Hall

8 am – 5 pm: Classic and Wooden Boat Show

9 am – 5 pm: Arts-and-crafts fair and farmers market

9 am – 5 pm: Stained-glass workshop

10 am: Dunk tank for Defibs4DoorCounty

10:30 am: Music by the Schnapps und Tanz Oktoberfest Combo

11 am – 4 pm: Kids’ boat building

10 am – 6 pm: Kids’ carnival and bounce houses

11 am: Music by Last Man Standing

1 pm: Music by Mistrial

1:30 pm: Music by Barry Cloyd

4:30 pm: Kids’ pedal tractor pull (Registration is at 3:30 pm)

5:30 pm: Music by Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns

9 pm: Fireworks

Bring a lawn chair and catch the full lineup of live music at Marina Fest. Photo by Len Villano.

Sunday, Sept. 4

9 am – 5 pm: Arts-and-crafts fair and farmers market

10 am – 2 pm: Used-book sale in the Village Hall

10 am – 4 pm: Door County Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Raffle

10 am – 6 pm: Kids’ carnival and bounce houses

12 pm: Music by the Tent Show Troubadours

4 pm: Music by Conscious Pilot

The Kids Tractor Pull takes place Saturday, Sept. 3 at 4:30 pm. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

Monday, Sept. 5

9 am – 4 pm: Arts-and-crafts fair and farmers market

10 am – 6 pm: Kids’ carnival and bounce houses

12 pm: Music by Frank Maloney and His Big Country Unit

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