Much More Than a Festival

Maritime Week celebrates the U.S. Coast Guard 

When Sturgeon Bay celebrates Maritime Week Aug. 4-12, it will offer fun for families, kids, boat lovers and Bloody Mary connoisseurs, but those people are not at the heart of the celebration. 

As one of just 30 official U.S. Coast Guard Cities, Sturgeon Bay takes special pride in honoring the Coast Guard personnel who are stationed in the area and embracing their traditions. To be a Coast Guard City, a community and its residents must welcome and support local Coast Guard members and their families. 

“A lot of these events throughout Maritime Week are to celebrate and honor the Coast Guard,” said Paige Funkhouser, the Door County Maritime Museum’s community engagement manager. “But it’s also to give the members of the detachments an opportunity to socialize with each other in an off-duty atmosphere and experience all that Sturgeon Bay and Door County have to offer.”

Maritime Week – which actually runs a little longer than one week – starts with a proclamation by the Sturgeon Bay Common Council on Aug. 1 honoring the birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard. It continues with a Salute to the Coast Guard Golf Outing on Aug. 8 at Idlewild Golf Course, and on Aug. 9, the Door County Fair offers half-price entry to active-duty personnel and a salute on its Main Stage at 7 pm. On Friday, Aug. 11, the maritime museum hosts a U.S. Coast Guard Picnic from Smokin’ Tom’s Team BBQ for active, reserve, retired and veteran U.S. Coast Guard personnel and their families. 

“When you’re working a lot because you’re active-duty personnel, it’s hard to get out and do these things,” Funkhouser said. 

The Coast Guard City Committee works not only to recognize them during this celebration, but also to create activities for Coast Guard families throughout the year. 

But Maritime Week isn’t just for Coasties, either. The weekend of Aug. 5-6 features the Door County Classic and Wooden Boat Show, with boats arriving from throughout the Midwest on Saturday for display during the afternoon and a classic boat parade at 6 pm. Boats are on display Sunday as well, when attendees will swarm the shoreline and the Michigan Street Bridge to watch the Sikaflex Build-a-Boat races beginning at 1 pm. Two-person teams test the seacraft they built Saturday through races in the bay. 

Before the races, you can visit Sonny’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, 129 N. Madison Ave., for the Bloody Marys, Brews and Bacon event, 10 am – 1 pm, when local restaurants compete for the title of Best Bloody Mary and Best Bloody Mary Garnish. 

“It gets pretty competitive,” said Cam Ehlers-Kwaterski, executive director of Destination Sturgeon Bay. 

On Aug. 7 and 9, members of the public may tour the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay, and on Aug. 11 and 12, deck tours shift to the training ship State of Michigan


Saturday, Aug. 5

10 am – 4 pm: Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Show and Sikaflex Build-a-Boat Challenge at the Door County Maritime Museum, 120 N. Madison Ave.

6 pm: Classic boat parade between the Oregon and Michigan Street Bridges

Sunday, Aug. 6

10 am – 4 pm: Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Show at the Door County Maritime Museum

10 am – 1 pm: Bloody Marys, Brews and Bacon at Sonny’s Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, 129 N. Madison Ave. 

1 pm: Sikaflex Build-a-Boat races

Monday, Aug. 7

Time TBA: Katmai Bay arrival and deck tours

5:30 pm: Coast Guard Person of the Year and Mariner Award Dinner, Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, 600 Nautical Dr.

Tuesday, Aug. 8

9:30 am: Salute to the Coast Guard Golf Outing, Idlewild Golf Course, 4146 Golf Valley Dr.

Wednesday, Aug. 9

1-4 pm: Katmai Bay deck tours

7 pm: Salute to Military Veterans at the Door County Fair’s Main Stage

Thursday, Aug. 10

5 pm: Sail races, Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club

Friday, Aug. 11

6-8 pm: Training Ship State of Michigan deck tours

Saturday, Aug. 12Time TBA: Training Ship State of Michigan deck tours and departure