BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- People in the Boothbay area are pulling together to save a half-century tradition: Windjammer Days.
The annual festival in late June celebrates Maine's sailing heritage and marks the start of summer in the tourist town. It also brings thousands of people to fill local shops and restaurants and hotel rooms in Boothbay Harbor.
Last week, the local Chamber of Commerce announced it can no longer be the manager of Windjammer Days. Chamber leaders said they had been having problems getting enough financial donations and volunteers to run the event. So a group of local business owners and festival volunteers is holding a meeting Friday night to come up with a plan to keep Windjammer Days going.
"It's not gonna die on my watch I can tell you that," said Capt. Peter Ripley, who coordinates the annual parade of sail with the windjammers. Ripley said he's confident there will be enough people and money to do the job.
Store owner Dianne Gimbel agreed. "It's a huge outpouring of support, huge," said Gimbel. She says Friday's meeting is likely to result in either a new, non-profit group to take over Windjammer Days, or creation of a special committee to do the same thing, but under the umbrella of the Chamber.
All agreed the 2014 Windjammer Days will go on as scheduled.