For whatever reason, building boats offers a little more romance than folding chinos at the Gap, and because of that more than anything, chino-folding is not on the festival's roster this year. Which isn't to say it won't be in the next century, when pants are made of some kind of aerosol material that evaporates at day's end and chino-folding is practically a lost art.
The point is that the festival is highlighting some arcane skill-sets to push this civilization along, promoting commerce, refining transportation or entertaining the masses with flying balls on strings. Thus, we recommend:
1) Shipbuilders Wanted: Beards a Must
There is some connection, perhaps lost to the ages, between the crafting of water vessels and the cultivation of facial hair, as can be seen in three of this year's craftsmen. Saturday, noon-8 p.m.; Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
There's Michael Vlahovich, shipbuilder and restorer, from a long line of Croatian watermen. He's on hand to talk about the all-important art of ship caulking, so your handiwork won't be admired from the bottom of the sea, beard or no.
There's Chuck Modjeski, batteau builder, whose work on the excavation of the legendary flatboats of the James River led him to start building the things for the annual James River Batteau Festival. He'll be talking about period dress, the commercial importance of the boats, and perhaps period beards.
George Butler's family (many bearded, no doubt) have built wooden boats for Chesapeake Bay fishing for 100 years. The boats are specifically used in the collection of menhaden, the "fishy gold" that makes up so much of the United States' fish export.