What do a Shriner’s Parade, a crab skiff race, a fishing boat docking contest, paintings of whimsical mermaids and prancing horses have in common ? Surprisingly, they were all a part of a new Eastern Shore Virginia festival, the 2012 Clam Slam in Cape Charles, an inaugural event held last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Clam Slam blasted off Friday evening at the harbor with a huge Harbor Party featuring live rock/blues music music from 6-10 pm performed by John Baldwin and the Original Sinners, a well-known Virginia Beach band. I’m still a Glenn Miller-Tommy Dorsey-Benny Goodman-Artie Shaw fan myself but I’ve spoken to several people who went Friday night and commented that they really enjoyed the music.
10am Saturday morning brought a complete change of pace as the Shriner’s Parade and Car Show. led by the smartly stepping Color Guard from the US Coast Guard’s Cape Charles Station, began winding its way along Bay Avenue and then down Mason Avenue. Following was a colorful assortment of participants including the ever popular fire trucks from Cape Charles and nearby Cheriton throwing candies to the crowd and then what I think was litttle Miss Chesapeake Bay. Everyone loved the crab racing skiffs which would be struting their stuff in the harbor later in the day, a colorful collection of oranges, greens and blues, rolling past sidewalks crowded with on-lookers.
But of course it was the Shriners who highlighted the day, going all-out as usual in their efforts to raise money for their 22 hospital network where children are treated for free for a wide variety of very serious issues, including burns. Dressed in costume, the Shriner contingent led off with marchers, then a good sized marching band attired in teal slacks, white shirts, gold cummberbunds and their traditional red fezes, playing with plenty of volume and enthusiasm, followed by their top attractions, horses, clowns, mini-trucks and of course, the laugh-out-loud, crazy-driving miniture cars, probably the Shriners most famous parade unit.
Envision exuberant drivers, stuffed into tiny cars barely big enough to hold them, careening around in apparently randomly wild configurations. Further imagine what appears to be total mayhem, with these big guys in minuture cars, zipping every which way but Sunday, about 6 ways on this 2 way street, all to huge laughs from an appreciative audience and you’ve pretty much got the picture. The clowns were tons of fun too- dressed up like Beverly Hillbillies, one of the fellows was doing his antics in bare feet. Given that hot, hot pavement, I’d say, Wow, that’s really dedication. Following all of that fun, a string of sweet antique cars. A fellow standing beside me kept pointing to one yellow beauty, saying I had one just like that, exactly like that just as the Kedive motorcycle group roared into view, first you hear them, then you see them.
Next up, horses and riders from Triple M Ranch. Located just outside Cape Charles on 150 acres overlooking historic King’s Creek, a saltwater inlet from the Chesapeake Bay, Triple M has a dedicated group of riders and they have consistantly added a lot of interest to local events by bringing their gorgeous mounts to participate. Their horses were so cute last Christmas at the Cape Charles Grand Illumination at Central Park. Adorned in holiday bells, red bows, plush reindeer horns, red and green saddle blankets, etc., they certainly brought a lot of extra smiles to that special evening. Following the horses, a cute golf cart sponsored by the Friends of the Cape Charles Library advertizing their book sale and then, last but definitely not least, a long string of antique Corvette’s, buffed and shiny, clearly well treated by their proud owners.
I didn’t have time to stick around for the other festivities down at the harbor which included games for kids, a horseshoe contest, a crab pot cork race and the wildly popular Smith Island crab skiff race. I did however take a quick stroll down Mason Avenue to see what the sidewalk art booths had on display this year. Looks of good stuff, paintings, crafts, political buttons, you-name-it, for sale along the sidewalk. And at the very end of the sidewalk appeared a little tent filled to the brim with the most adorable mermaid dolls and whimsical paintings, prints and original oils both, all beckoning me in, singing sweetly like the Sirens to Ulysses, come in, come in, see me, touch me, take me home with you…… Created by talented Shore artisit, Katherine Kiss, who said she has been working in the fanciful genre for a long time, the mermaid dolls were so absolutely gorgeous, I’d have loved to have bought every one !
P.S. I didn’t attend any of the Sunday events but the Boat Docking Contest was the clear favorite– over 800 tickets for the event were sold, the proceeds to be used for the prizes and to help off-set fuel costs for the boat owners. However, Jennifer Ingram from Blue Heron’s Cape Charles office did attend, ( had a ticket in the VIP section no less ) and she was kind enough to supply me with the following pictures for this post.
(Posted by Marlene Cree, licensed Virginia agent with Blue Heron Realty Co., 7134 Wilsonia Neck Dr., Machipongo, VA)