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The city of Havre de Grace wants to show off its waterfront this weekend with the first Waterfront Festival, which runs 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Concord Point Park and Hutchins Park.
The city of Havre de Grace wants to show off its waterfront this weekend with the first Waterfront Festival, which runs 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Concord Point Park and Hutchins Park. (Scott Serio / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The city of Havre de Grace wants to show off its waterfront this weekend with the inaugural Waterfront Festival.

“In Havre de Grace, we love our waterfront, it’s beautiful. It’s the best-kept secret in Harford County,” said Bambi Johnson, executive director of the Havre de Grace Alliance, which is sponsoring the festival. “A lot of people think there’s the downtown and there’s the waterfront. We’re trying to connect the two.”

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The festival runs 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Concord Point Park and Hutchins Park.

It kicks off Saturday with the unveiling of a new public art sculpture, “Big Fish, School of Fish” created by Thomas Sterner. The sculpture is a large striped bass (rockfish) made of highly reflective stainless steel that will be cantilevered over a portion of the signature sidewalk in Concord Point Park. The surface of the three-dimensional fish is made from hundreds of smaller rockfish connected to form the fish body.

“It’s going to reflect our heritage as a waterfront community,” Mayor William T. Martin said.

The sculpture was developed through a partnership between the city and the Public Art Committee, part of the nonprofit Community Projects of Havre de Grace, he said.

Martin noted the city has an arts and entertainment district recognized by the state, and there is “art popping up around the city,” such as murals, sculpture and performing arts at venues such as the Cultural Center at the Opera House.

“That’s all part of the whole point of bringing people to our city,” he said of the artworks.

Saturday ends with fireworks at 8:45 p.m., which were postponed during the city’s Independence Day celebration July 6 because of bad weather.

Martin knocked on the wooden City Council dais for luck Monday as he said the weather forecast is “looking good” for Saturday. He noted fireworks shows in the city have been canceled on three occasions so far this year because of inclement weather — New Year’s Eve, Defenders Weekend in May and the Independence Day celebration.

“Fourth time is the charm,” the mayor quipped.

Martin said the fireworks will be shot from a barge in the Susquehanna River off of Concord Point, but people “really can see it anywhere from the shoreline,” such as the grounds of the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House or Hutchins Park, “anywhere you want to be with your family on Saturday night, watching the fireworks.”

Free ground and water transportation will be provided between the two parks, which are about a mile apart, throughout the event. The shuttle bus between parks will also run to other parts of the city to help people with parking, Johnson said.

Other activities will be going on throughout Havre de Grace over the weekend.

The Crab Soup Challenge from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday features 12 groups vying for the title of best crab soup. For $5, visitors can visit participating restaurants or American Legion and VFW groups, sample their crab soup and vote for their favorite.

The Cultural Center of Havre de Grace at the Opera House will host a live “Ariel” show at 1 p.m. Saturday, with a singalong, personal meet-and-greet, and giveaways with the star of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid." Tickets, for $5, include the movie.

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Other events include a free youth fishing derby from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at the end of the public pier, music and demonstrations on the main stage, a crab feast (tickets are required) and kayak rentals.

All day activities include a beer garden, decoy carvers, face-painting, boat tours, jet boat rides, a strolling magician, artists, crafters and other vendors, carnival games and a kids zone.

“The whole point is to celebrate the heritage that is the Susquehanna,” Johnson said.

This year’s event isn’t over and tentative plans are being made for next year, which include the Town of Perryville holding its Lower Ferry Festival on the same weekend to celebrate between both municipalities, with transportation between both.

For more information, visit The Waterfront Festival in Havre de Grace’s Facebook page.

Aegis reporter David Anderson contributed to this article.

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