It can be fairly said that Newburyport has a theme this year, and it is one that is sure to draw a lot of attention and crowds.
The year 2012 will see a flurry of events themed on the city's maritime history and its future. It will all come to pass in the late spring and summer. We look forward to it and hope that city residents will take full advantage of what is being offered.
The first out of the gate is the Custom House Maritime Museum, which plans to extend its hours and offer more exhibits and programs than it has in the past. The museum normally opens in May but expects to start opening in March with hopes of becoming a year-round museum. The Custom House has struggled over its more than 40-year history, but under its new leadership, it seems to have the enthusiasm and smart ideas that will carry it forward and bring it stability, if not growth.
Among the themes of this year's exhibits is the city's long-standing connection to the Coast Guard, the interesting story of the Newburyport clipper ship Dreadnought and a special event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
The Newburyport Preservation Trust will focus on Newburyport's waterfront during its Preservation Week events, slated for May. The trust will spend the week looking back at the city's impressive nautical history and also spin the clock forward to discuss the future of the city's waterfront.
From July 13 to 15, the city will get a flavor of its sailing past when the HMS Bounty visits. The 90-foot-long replica of the famous three-master will be available for tours and receptions on that weekend, and organizers are planning numerous children's events both on the riverfront and near the Inn Street Mall.
Finally, what may end up being the biggest event of the summer is the city's official adoption as a Coast Guard City, which will take place at the end of Yankee Homecoming week (Aug. 3 to 5). The celebration will include social events, ceremonies and more.
In the late shadows of winter, it's already getting easier to see that spring will soon be upon us, along with warm weather and a return to the city's waterside. We look forward to Newburyport's maritime year.