15th Annual Wooden Boat Show Shares Boat History Near and Far

Grand Marais, MN – During North House Folk School’s 15th annual Wooden Boat Show, June 22-24, speakers will share the stories of life on Isle Royale and across the globe in the fishing villages of Japan.

During Sunday’s Keynote Presentation, “Boats & Stories of Isle Royale,” Howard Sivertson and Gene Skadberg will share their memories of life on Isle Royale. They grew up in a maritime culture in which boats were cars, the lake was the road and fish were (nearly always) on the menu. Accompanied by local historian Tim Cochrane, Gene and Howard will reflect on the characters and lore of island life in days gone by.

On Friday and Saturday, featured instructor Douglas Brooks will take the stage to share his experience with the rich history of traditional arts and crafts in Japan. Brooks has studied traditional Japanese boatbuilding for over two decades and apprenticed with five Japanese boatbuilders. His Friday presentation is entitled “Ways of Knowing; Craft Education in Japan,” and his Saturday presentation will focus specifically on Japanese wooden boat building traditions.

In the same vein, new this year, you can see boat builders in action as they build skiffs, canoes, and bark boats on Saturday. See the tools at work in capable hands, and join in for scheduled small talks and demonstrations of specific aspects of the building process.

“Watching a pile of wood transform into something that floats, something that people used to make their livelihoods, is an amazing process,” said program director Jessa Frost. “Wooden Boat Show celebrates not only our vibrant community, but honors the longstanding tradition of boatbuilding on the North Shore—from birch bark canoes to wooden mackinaw boats to the boats built today on the North House campus. We’d love to have the harbor full of small craft!”

Other public programs include a speaker series spanning the weekend, with presentations on outdoor expeditions and boatbuilding, plus craft demonstrations and speakers. Mini courses are also an option—we’re celebrating some of the most elemental aspects of our identity: bread, timbers and boats. Pre-registration is required, space is limited. Please call to register (888-387-9762) $10 non-members and $5 members/event pass holders.

Also on the schedule are all the Wooden Boat Show favorites, including the Summer Solstice Pageant, Wooden Boat Display, Chowder Chowdown, Contra Dance and the Boats-to-Tools Auction.

For a complete schedule of events and descriptions of all the event components, and information on the event pass please visit the North House website at www.northhouse.org.

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North House Folk School is non-profit educational organization that offers year-round, hands-on coursework in traditional northern craft. More info at www.northhouse.org