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Crowd: Greenport Maritime Festival 2012 is 'Just Right'

Tourists and merchants give glowing reviews to Maritime 2012.

Perfect weather on Saturday only added to the fun — and good business — of Greenport's Maritime Festival 2012.

The streets of the village were already packed by 10:30 a.m., which was great for merchants like Perry Angelson, owner of the Harbourfront Deli and The Loft restaurant on Front Street — the deli was packed after the parade for lunch and he sold a steady stream of barbecue turkey legs and beer on the sidewalk.

"It's going amazingly well this year," he said.

This year's festival committee at the East End Seaport Museum decided to not invite as many outside vendors as they've had in years past, giving village businesses more clout on the street. Janice and Greg D'Angelo of Sag Harbor said they liked this aspect of the festival this year and all the boats available for tours. They come to the festival every year by boat and dock in Mitchell Marina.

"I like that they close the streets off — it's just a nice relaxing time, though we miss all the bagpipes they used to have during the parade," Greg said.

Related: Photos of 2012 Maritime Festival Opening Parade

Heidi Kelso, co-owner of Eureka Beach clothing and boutique store on Main Street, said that Maritime Festival has a much different feel that the Tall Ships festival, which brought about 50,000 people to the streets of Greenport over Memorial Day Weekend.

"This feels very fall to me, just a different sort of crowd," she said of her first Maritime experience. "But people are spending money here."

Julie Kibler of Greenport shared memories of her days working as a matron at the historic Greenport jail, which is open for tours during the festival. The jail closed in the mid-1990s after the Greenport police force was disbanded and absorbed into the Southold Police Department.

"It's bittersweet to be back in here," she said, standing in front of three small beat-up jail cells. "We had fun but at times it was a lot to deal with - the reason most people were in here revolved mostly around drinking and drugs."

Over at Mitchell Park, one family from Islip came to see a performance of the Kings of the Coast pirate troupe — dressed as pirates. Catherine Gude said she was so impressed with the Tall Ships festival that she brought the family back to Greenport for a weekend of camping at Eastern Long Island Kampground and Maritime activities.

"We heard a lot about this festival back in May, so we had to come back," she said. "And of course you have to dress like a pirate."

What do you think of Maritime Festival 2012 so far? Let us know in the comments below.

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