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Yankee Homecoming Kayak and SUP River Races – Newburyport

By Elizabeth de Veer, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Elizabeth de Veer is a writer who lives in Georgetown, MA. Her hobbies include organizing her elementary school-age daughter and chasing her labradoodle. Favorite coffee: hot. Favorite Beatles album: Sgt. Pepper. Favorite naughty food: lobster roll and fries. Her first novel is due to be published in fall 2018.
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This year, Yankee Homecoming will kick off with the third annual Kayak and Sup River Races on the Merrimac River, on Saturday, July 28. Contestants in the Kayak and SUP River Races must be at Cashman Park to check-in at 10:00 am and the race will start promptly at 11:30. Online registration should be done prior to race day. All registrants will receive an event t-shirt, designed by Paddle Paddle Surf Apparel, and names will be entered into a drawing for tickets to attend the Yankee Homecoming Brewfest,  happening that night. Organizers are working hard to make this exciting event as fun to watch as it is to participate in, so grab your kayak or stand-up paddle board and join in, or watch from shore and cheer on your favorites; a great time is guaranteed.

Competitors will launch kayaks and stand-up paddle boards into the Merrimac River at the Cashman Park boat ramp off Merrimack Street and after a safety review, paddle up river past Ram Island, Carr Island and around Deer Island, then back to Cashman Park and the finish line for a total of 4.6 miles. This year’s Kayak and SUP River Races has several divisions: kayakers will compete for Elite, Recreational, Tandem, and Over 60, first, second and third places, male and female. Stand-up paddle boards will compete for first, second and third places and winners will receive a medal.

This year, Race Wire is handling all registrations and providing professional timing for the first time. This means that competitors in the Kayak and SUP River Races will get their time and photos sent to them moments after they cross the finish line. Participants come from all over New England to join in this fun and exciting event, and organizers are expecting around 150 competitors. The event also has some new sponsors this year, including REI who will have a tent with give-aways and lawn games in the park. The course should take average kayakers or stand-up paddle-boarders around 30-40 minutes to complete, so spectators have time to enjoy a picnic lunch by the river and play games while they cheer on the contestants.

Organizers put safety first and enlisted the help of the US Coast Guard to pick the safest time for racers to take on the rushing Merrimac River. On race day, there will be several motor boats in the water to supervise and assist boaters and paddle-boarders who need it. Alcohol is prohibited, and all participants must have a USCG approved flotation device and a race whistle. Inspectors will review all equipment before they allow racers to launch.

Kids Day in the Park – An Exchange Club Family Event

By Elizabeth de Veer, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Elizabeth de Veer is a writer who lives in Georgetown, MA. Her hobbies include organizing her elementary school-age daughter and chasing her labradoodle. Favorite coffee: hot. Favorite Beatles album: Sgt. Pepper. Favorite naughty food: lobster roll and fries. Her first novel is due to be published in fall 2018.
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Newburyport’s annual Kids Day in the Park will take place Wednesday, August 1, from 10:00 to 2:00 at Atkinson Common Park, located at 388 High Street. This free event hosted by the Exchange Club of Newburyport, is one of the highlights of Yankee Homecoming week for many kids, featuring all the best stuff from childhood. Kids Day in the Park in an opportunity to create lifelong memories with your children. For many families this event has become an annual tradition, along with Olde Fashioned Sunday and Family Day at Maudslay Park.

Kids Day in the Park starts with a parade for decorated bikes and doll carriages, with prizes for the best ones! After that, kids can get their faces painted by volunteers from the high school art department, experience Theater in the Open – featuring the famous giraffe! – relax with a story organized by the Newburyport Library, participate in a sing-along with Steve Swochak, Music Director at the Immaculate Conception, and watch a police department K9 demonstration. Kids Day in the Park also lets youngsters see what it feels like behind the wheel in official vehicles from the City Fire Department, the Police Department and the Department of Public Works. There’s also food! Latitudes Sports Club will bring and grill an assortment of burgers and dogs and the folks at Polar Seltzer are sending cans of bubbly water. On top of that, there will be watermelon, ice cream, and what else? It’s all free!

Kids Day in the Park is hosted by the Newburyport Exchange Club,  a service organization that has existed since 1976 and focuses on four service areas: youth services, preventing child abuse, honoring America and community service. Kids Day in the Park has been organized as part of the Yankee Homecoming events since 2005, and Exchange Club members enjoy working with other community organizations to make this special day lots of fun and free for families.

Americana Rhythm & Roots Festival

By Elizabeth de Veer, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Elizabeth de Veer is a writer who lives in Georgetown, MA. Her hobbies include organizing her elementary school-age daughter and chasing her labradoodle. Favorite coffee: hot. Favorite Beatles album: Sgt. Pepper. Favorite naughty food: lobster roll and fries. Her first novel is due to be published in fall 2018.
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If you’re looking for some great American music in a beautiful setting, check out the Americana Rhythm & Roots Festival at Newburyport’s Waterfront Park on Saturday, July 7 from 3:30 to 8:00 pm. Bring your picnic blanket and experience the Americana Rhythm & Roots Festival for free, or purchase VIP seats for $50 each and sit on the balcony of the Firehouse Center for the Arts while enjoying free food, wine and beer. All proceeds support the Newburyport parks.

But who’s playing at the Americana Rhythm & Roots Festival, you ask? This incredible line-up has something for everybody:

NRBQ  – aka the New Rhythm and Blues Quarter, originally from Louisville, Kentucky. This group has been rocking the music scene since 1966 with their unique combination of rock, pop, jazz, and blues. They have called themselves “the greatest bar band in the world” and was the unofficial house band for The Simpsons for seasons 10-12 and wrote the song “Mayonnaise and Marmalade” for the show.

Thornetta Davis – Ms. Davis is the self-appointed Detroit Queen of the Blues, a title she wholly deserves. This woman sings blues, soul, rock and funk in the tradition of Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin and boy, does she bring the goods. Listen for yourself.

Po’ Ramblin Boys – This group, formed in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains, plays old-time country music, 1940s-style Tennessee bluegrass. “We want to be known for keeping the old music alive and making some new music that’s still close to the roots,” says C.J. Lewandowski, the group’s lead singer and mandolin player. This group will take you back in time to when coke was still cola and a joint was a bad place to be. (As Merle Haggard would put it.)

And last but certainly not least … Quentin Callewaert  – this high school junior from Byfield is not new to the Americana Rhythm and Roots Festival; he’s a regular on the North Shore music circuit and with good reason: he’s amazing. Quentin has been playing fingerstyle acoustic guitar for years, and has distinguished himself as a prodigy, playing classical, blues and jazz guitar with the ability and passion of someone two or three times his age. And he has a great voice to boot.

The Americana Rhythm & Roots Festival supports the Newburyport Parks Conservancy, which maintains several parks and playgrounds around Newburyport including Cashman Park, Mosely Woods and Atkinson Common, to name a few.

Waterfront Music Festival – Newburyport Students Perform

By Elizabeth de Veer, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Elizabeth de Veer is a writer who lives in Georgetown, MA. Her hobbies include organizing her elementary school-age daughter and chasing her labradoodle. Favorite coffee: hot. Favorite Beatles album: Sgt. Pepper. Favorite naughty food: lobster roll and fries. Her first novel is due to be published in fall 2018.
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Saturday, June 9, starting at 11:00 am, pack up your family and picnic blanket and head to Waterfront Park, behind Sea Level Restaurant, for the first annual Waterfront Music Festival where students from all schools in the Newburyport school district will perform music, dance and dramatic pieces through the day.  The district Performing Arts Department is presenting the first annual Waterfront Music Festival to highlight performing groups from all schools, and students of all ages across the district, including all range of music, dance and theater arts. Half-hour performances begin at 11 and go through the day until 3. Performances from the youngest students will start in the mid-morning and the day will end in the afternoon with Newburyport High School students. The Waterfront Music Festival is free and open to the public, and attendees are welcome to join for one or two performances or stay for the whole day. At 1:00, there will be an intermission for families to enjoy their picnics, explore offerings from local vendors, or stroll through town.

Enjoy our full video here and for other great short clips go to the Newburyport VIP Instagram profile and view under the VIP Kids & Family Highlight. You do need an Instagram login in order to view the hightlights.  https://www.instagram.com/newburyportvip/ 

Check the schedule to see when your favorites are performing, or just come by and see what’s on! Note the original schedule posted below has been amended. The event will begin at 11 am and end at 3 pm.

11:00 – 11:30 Bresnahan Elementary School Grades 1-3
11:35 -11:50 Molin 4th & 5th Grade Chorus (All Molin Students!)
11:55-12:30 Molin 5th Gr. Band & Orchestra
12:30-1:00 Nock and NHS Chorus, NHS Dance
1:00 -1:45 INTERMISSION with local vendors and food trucks
1:45 – 2:30 Nock Band and Orchestra
2:30 -3:00 NHS Theatre and Dance
3:00 – 3:45 NHS Concert and Rock Band

The mission of the festival is to feature groups from all schools in Newburyport – the Bresnahan Elementary School, the Edward G. Molin Upper Elementary School, the Rupert A. Nock Middle School, and the Newburyport High School. The district is especially excited to give the students in the new orchestra program a chance to demonstrate all they have learned.

Jamie Sokolowski, chorus and orchestra teacher at both the Nock School and the Molin School, is also the festival’s organizer. She hopes to create a fun-filled day program that brings together the community with the students, allowing community members to see all that the young people in the Newburyport school district have achieved in the performing arts. “We’re putting the festival out to see how it does, see what happens, and to collect community feedback,” Sokolowski said. “We’d like to make this an annual tradition for the performing arts. We hope that each year it grows more.” The NHS band director, Steve Cohen, has also been working hard to help the kids prepare. He has been collaborating with the younger grades as part of our district wide effort to make connections across grade levels. Both Jamie and Steve are featured working with the Molin 5th grade band in preparation for the big event!

Molin 5th grade band practicing for the big day!

Waterfront Music Festival, Newburyport

NAA Auction – Newburyport Art Association Art Auction & Party

By Elizabeth de Veer, Newburyport.com Correspondent
Elizabeth de Veer is a writer who lives in Georgetown, MA. Her hobbies include organizing her elementary school-age daughter and chasing her labradoodle. Favorite coffee: hot. Favorite Beatles album: Sgt. Pepper. Favorite naughty food: lobster roll and fries. Her first novel is due to be published in fall 2018.
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The annual Newburyport Art Association art auction and party will take place in the NAA galleries on Saturday, June 16th from 5:30 – 9:30 pm. The NAA auction is the largest fundraiser of the year and has grown in popularity causing organizers to expand preparations and ticket sales for this fun social event. The NAA auction is a wonderful opportunity to help support a critical organization that serves as the foundation and inspiration for Greater Newburyport’s passionate community of artists and art lovers. Come view and bid on works by local artists, while enjoying delicious food and drinks at one of Newburyport’s top social events. This year’s theme is “A Night in Bangkok” and will feature sumptuous Thai creations by Brown Sugar by the Sea to be paired with creative libations and local brews.

The Newburyport Art Association art auction and party is a great way to discover beautiful local art. A silent auction under a tent in the NAA Sculpture Garden will feature over 60 items including artworks and many non-art items like hotel stays, Celtics tickets, a family photography session and others. See the list of non-art items here. The main event will take place under a bigger tent along the side of the Newburyport Art Association. The live NAA auction will include 70 lots of traditional and contemporary two-dimension works,  as well as a few surprises, including two “Mystery Boxes.”

In addition, NAA lifetime artist member Donald Jurney has donated a featured painting, Willows and Mist, oil, 24 x 20, Fair Market Value $16,000 and has no reserve. Half of the sales proceeds from this lot will help fund the 2019 Donald & Kim Journey Traveling Fellowship, an annual $5,000 award to an emerging artist. Attendees of the NAA auction can also bid on works by other featured artists like Pat Forbes and Janis Sanders, whose work is represented commercially by LL Bean and Crate and Barrel.

Check out the art pieces ahead of time so you can plan your bids. Attendees will have the chance to preview works live on Friday, June 15th from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturday, June 16th from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. The silent and live auctions will be held Saturday, June 16, from 5:30 – 9:00 pm.

We recommend purchasing tickets online in advance, as the Newburyport Art Association art auction and party is an extremely popular event. Tickets will be sold at the door the night of the Art Auction if they are still available. General Admission tickets are $45 and there are also VIP ticket options as well. If you are unable to attend and would like to leave an absentee bid, please call or visit the gallery to purchase an absentee bid ticket and complete the form.

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