The Alexandria Seaport Foundation will hold its annual Seaport Day festival this Saturday, Sept. 30, from noon to 6 p.m. Held at the foot of Prince Street in Waterfront Park, the event offers activities for people of all ages including a variety of children’s activities, boat races and building, food and drink, and live music provided once again by D.C. band 50 Year Storm.
“Everybody loves seeing all the wooden boats,” said Kathy Seifert, the Seaport Foundation’s vice-president of development. “The young families love the children’s activities because they’re fun. The parents love being able to have a glass of wine and listen to live music while their kids are having fun.”
Most importantly, the event offers festival goers the opportunity to contribute to the development of the Seaport Foundation, which is funded by individual donations. The revenue generated by Seaport Day will support the foundation; founded in 1982, the nonprofit is dedicated to helping at-risk youth between the ages of 17 and 22 build the skills and self-confidence they need to transition into the workforce.
“It’s basically a 6-to-8 month program where kids who are struggling with serious challenges ... whatever their struggles might be,” said Seifert, “They come to us, and through adult mentoring and project-based learning, and particularly the craft of wooden boat building, they kind of get on the right path and redirect their lives so they can become productive and successful adults.”
In addition to learning skills that are applicable to the workplace, the youths also learn their own intrinsic value and potential.
“The biggest thing they walk away with is a newfound sense of self, self-esteem and self-confidence,” said Seifert. “They really see that they are capable of many things, and they leave here with a new lease on life.”
Entry to Seaport Day is free; revenue is generated through attractions like local food vendors and the Rubber Duck Derby, which boasts prizes ranging from stand-up paddleboards, overnight trips and gift certificates to local restaurants. The festival has been held annually for over 15 years.
“As vice-president of development, my focus is funding these programs,” said Seifert. “This is an event that gives us the opportunity to showcase our programs and missions which are supported by our community, so without the local support, we can’t do what we do to help the community.”