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Maritime Heritage Festival will liven up Old Town

by: FILE - Attendees at the St. Helens Maritime Heritage Festival in 2012. The festival has become an annual event in St. Helens, showcasing classic ships, arts and crafts, and Native American culture.The annual Maritime Heritage Festival in Old Town St. Helens kicks off Friday afternoon, July 25.

The two-day festival includes food and drink, live music, family-friendly activities, and aquatic attractions.

The scheduled 1 p.m. arrival of the sternwheeler Portland, which houses the Oregon Maritime Museum, will officially begin the festival Friday afternoon, and displays and food booths will open at 2 p.m.

At 3 p.m., the 1945-vintage Patrol Torpedo boat PT-658, also a historical display ship, is set to arrive.

Other antique boats will be on display during the festival, and a People’s Choice Boat Show winner will be selected. Last year’s winner — the classic cruiser Rinta, owned by Jim and Maila Cadd of Longview, Washington — will also be present.

“It is exciting to see the newly emerging vision for St. Helens and its ‘Maritime Heritage Waterfront’ as a setting for an already appealing historic river port city,” said Chris Finks, St. Helens tourism director, in a statement. “The Maritime Heritage Festival is a natural fit for St. Helens and supports its exciting new vision.”

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde are the title sponsor for the event. Finks said the festival will provide a “touch point for Native American culture” through the tribal group’s involvement.

The producers of the festival are the city of St. Helens and the nonprofit Maritime Heritage Coalition. Other partners include the St. Helens Community Foundation, Portland Yacht Club, Columbia River Yachting Association, St. Helens Economic Development Corporation, Save the PT Boat, Amphibious Forces Maritime Museum, Oregon Maritime Museum, the St. Helens Arts and Cultural Commission.

The main setting for the festival will be the St. Helens Marina and city docks on the Columbia River.