The Åland Sea Days
During the Sea Days in mid-July, maritime matters are the common theme of the programme. The main venue for the street party is the Maritime Quarter in the eastern harbour of Mariehamn – a vibrant maritime environment with boatbuilding, smithery and other crafts. Some of the activities take place at sea aboard the galleas Albanus.
Five theme days
The Åland Sea Days offer programme from morning to midnight during five days. Each day has a special theme and programme. This year’s program includes, among other things, music performances and different kinds of demonstrations, sailing and motorboat shows, market, morning yoga in the Sea Quarter’s seafaring chapel, as well as dance workshops on four evenings.
The Sea Days will begin on Wednesday with the Maritime Safety Day with programmes by the Åland Sea Rescue Association and Rescue services. There will be a traditional sailing trip on the gales Albanus, pirate activities and later in the afternoon you can watch the sailing regatta to arrive in the Maritime Quarter of Mariehamn.
Thursday is Handicrafts Day with craft demonstrations, possibility to try some techniques and sales of handicrafts and products, everything from sail sewing and rope making to Viking crafts, as well as junk art. There will a historical sailing trip to Bomarsund, as well as a traditional sailing trip on Albanus. The Fornföreningen Fibula association’s own battle group will demonstrate Viking-style weapon games. In the evening there will be Balkan music and dance workshop.
Friday is Folk Music Day and the Maritime Quarter will be filled with delightful folk music from morning to late evening. The day begins with an Estonian choire on the stage, followed by an Estonian folk dance group, an Åland folk harpist and the Åland Accordion Club. In the afternoon the Åland folk music group Kvinnfolk will perform and in the evening there will dance workshop in Afro Rock and dance to Celso Paco & Dynamo de Luxe.
Saturday is Maritime Day and that means e. g. a race with wooden boats out on the bay Slemmern. Do not miss the dance workshop in Bugg.
On Children’s Day on Sunday children and parents can participate in activities such as kite building workshop, pirate activities, making and racing small bark boats, and watching rabbit agility and optimist regatta. And of course just enjoy the festival atmosphere and sun with something good to eat and drink.
There is an arts and crafts market every day. Many arts-and-craftspeople will be displaying their different techniques. Meet the local designermakers and shop crafts as jewellery, ceramics, glass products and clothes.
The evening programme includes food and drink and live music, as well as dance workshops in swing, balkan, afro rock and bugg.
You can take a traditional sailing trip on the galeas Albanus on Wednesday day afternoon, as well as on Wednesday and Thursday evening. On Thursday morning there will be a historic sailing excursion onboard Albanus to Bomarsund. These sailing trips must be booked in advance via email@example.com.
Support the Sea Days by buying lottery tickets or paying the optional admission fee. You will find the complete programme on the events calendar, on Åland Sea Days’ website or on their Facebook page.
The Sea Days have been organised since 1990 and in 2009 the event clocked up about 20,000 visitors. Every year over 150 invitations are sent out to small cargo boats and traditional sailing boats around the Baltic Sea.
The Albanus was the first replica to be launched on the Baltic Sea in 1988. Four years later saw the launch of the three-masted schooner Linden in Mariehamn – the foundations were laid for a Maritime Quarter for the preservation of Åland traditions and to promote culture in life on the coast and at sea as well as boat- and shipbuilding.
The scent of tar
Since the Albanus was built, the area has grown into a “live” district. Thirty-odd buildings house boatbuilders, carpenters, artists, craftspeople and gold- and silversmiths.
There are quays for both small cargo boats and larger craft. Smaller wooden boats shelter in a picturesque maritime setting with piers, boathouses and a little seafarers’ chapel that is always open for contemplation.
The Maritime Quarter has two excellent museums, one for boats and wooden boatbuilding and one for traditional engines.