People visiting Havre de Grace over the weekend for the two-day Waterfront Festival could take in all things related to the waterfront — catch a fish off of a pier, sample some crab soup, get their photo taken with a mermaid, even see the unveiling of a rockfish sculpture.

“This rockfish reflects our heritage and association with the Chesapeake Bay, not just for the people of Havre de Grace, but our Native American ancestors as well,” Mayor William T. Martin said. “It’s a very appropriate sculpture for this location.”


The stainless-steel sculpture, called “Big Fish, School of Fish,” was fabricated and installed in Concord Park along the Susquehanna River waterfront by Carroll County artist Tom Sterner. The artist, who attended the unveiling ceremony Saturday afternoon, said the 316-type stainless steel is the best material for outdoor pieces, as it can resist corrosion and ensure the Havre de Grace sculpture remains “long after I’m gone.”

The 600-pound sculpture is a rockfish, or striped bass, made up of 557 little rockfish, according to Sterner. The piece was commissioned as a joint effort of the City of Havre de Grace and the community’s Public Art Committee. Visitors gathered around the sculpture after the ceremony, admiring and snapping photos of it.

The mayor congratulated Bill Watson, the Public Art Committee chair, on the project, telling him: “Good job, man.”

Sterner, the artist, said the sculpture is “a fun piece, but it also communicates a collective heroism where multitudes join together for a common goal.”

He said it exemplifies “any situation when people cooperate and work towards a common goal — great things happen.”

The Waterfront Festival, in its inaugural year, was put on by the Havre de Grace Alliance. People could visit Hutchins Park and Concord Point Park and check out vendors, food trucks, live music, even boat tours from the Army Corps of Engineers, at both parks. Concord Point and the surrounding area also hosted a beer garden, photo opportunities with mermaids, a youth fishing derby, tours of the Concord Point Lighthouse, canine retrieving demonstrations on land and in the water on Sunday, and other attractions.

Amberly Cooper, 31, of Aberdeen, watched Saturday as her 3-year-old daughter, Ava Ogletree, played with bubbles emanating from a bubble machine under the tent where “Pearl,” a mermaid with Sew Classy Princess Parties of Wilmington, Delaware, chatted with children and posed for photos with them.

“She loves the park, she loves the boats — loves the mermaid,” Cooper said of her daughter.

Pearl, who stayed in character while being interviewed by an Aegis reporter, said she swam down from Delaware to attend The Waterfront Festival.

“I like to come up and meet everyone on land,” she said.

Pearl painted “glitter tattoos,” sea-related images such as pirates and mermaids, on the arms of her young visitors, talked with them about sea creatures, plus she stressed the need to avoid littering on land so trash does not get into waterways and they remain clean and healthy.

“Make it educational and fun at the same time,” Pearl said of her conversations with the children.