An annual day of fun (and some debauchery) in Chesapeake City, Md.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rafting 'em up

The basin is filling in an orderly fashion this year. This is a shot from early this morning. There's still plenty of room if you're thinking about heading in today. The boats are in good lines with clear travel lanes thanks to the early arrival of the Coast Guard. They are doing a good job of keeping things safe while still letting people have the fun that Canal Day is known for.

Here's today's Canal Day story in The News Journal.


Anonymous said...

We had a great time this year, EXCEPT for the greediness of the The Chesapeake Inn & Marina.

They charged boaters who "won" slips at lottery in January $.75 a foot more than their advertised rates.

Our guests were held *HOSTAGE* on the docks unless they wanted to pay a $10 ransom on Friday or $20 on Saturday for to be freed and able to walk on Chesapeake Inn & Marina's property for less than 100feet to get off of their property.

The rules were always changing; at one point we were told that our Super Duper VIP wristbands that we recived as the lottery winners wouldn't get us access to the property either and we were subject to the cover charge too.

Any of our guests that arrived by car either had to learn how to fly or swim, or fork out $10 on Friday or $20 on Saturday to walk to the pier and anyone that had clothing or food with them were turned away too so you could come in with the clothes on your back and NO these rules have NOTHING to do with Safety - only greed.

We sure won't be back for canal day docked at Chesapeake Inn & Marina NOR to dine at their overpriced establishment again and neither will any of the guests that we had on our boat this weekend.

Way to go, Chesapeake Inn and Marina you greedy dirtbags!

Canal Day Crafter said...

Canal Day sucked for the vendors! I have done the show for 9 years, this year I watched people pull up to park and be informed that parking was $10. They just pulled off and left. The people parking the cars stated that the price was rasied because gas for the busses cost more. Yet the people that paid for the parking never got a bus to ride on and had to walk a mile or more. Then charging to walk on to the dock. Good going Chesapeake City! You chased away your crowd, your revenue, and your long time supporters with your greed. Be proud!

Anonymous said...

Do you think events like Canal Day or any other event go on without costs. I won a slip this year and was explained everything in detail by Andy the dockmaster. The Ches Inn, Civic Assoc etc. have costs to put on an event like this. THe local law enforcement wanted to paid more, the CI, town and Civic all ponied up 2-3k more. Shuttles and buses to and from the parking areas cost the CI and Civic over 6k. The CI had over 9 different types of entertainment for the weekend...I counted them. I know that Kristen and Noise goes for 5-6k down the beach per night at the Rudder. You figure the rest of the entertainment was at 6k for the weekend combined. I saw what seemed like thousands of yellows shirts and ask one how many there were and he said at least $10 per hour. That is probably 15k for the weekend. Trash removal, portapotties etc.. who knows what that costs, but I know it wasnt free. The bracelets we received were for two all access passes so we didnt have to pay cover anyday. The ten passes per boat were so our "guests" or friends could come to our boat without strangers wondering down and hanging out where they didnt belong. If someone cannot pay a $10 cover or $20 for entertainment, then stay home.. you ruin it for everyone else. Thank you Ches Inn for making this another great year, hopefully the town will acknowledge your running a top notch party and restaurant....the nerve of some people.

Anonymous said...

In response to Anonymous 6/30/08 9:03 PM - You were fortunate that everything was explained to you in detail. Unfortunately our experience was quite different and we were not alone – others had the same experience.

We were told that the two "VIP" passes let us in to the party each night and the white bands were for our guests so that they could get to and from the pier. We were not told that our guests would have to pay a cover. On Saturday evening after we attended the festivities in town when we returned to the CI we were denied entrance even with our VIP passes and were forced to beg for a ride on the dingy pier.

Our guests were there to "people watch" the other boaters and **surprise** attend the festivities on land in town and browse the crafts. All they wanted to do was to leave the pier and exit the marina and were not interested in the entertainment and crowded environment at the CI.
I acknowledge that there are costs associated with such an event; however, it seems likely that those costs were recovered in the cover charge for outside patrons, the over-priced slip charges, the lottery party, and slip raffle tickets.

As far as strangers wondering down the pier the only place that we saw security was at the pier entrances - no one was checking bands on the pier - there were many people on our pier that didn't have white bands and probably boarded the pier from the water.

Our experience would have been better if we were informed so next year the CI may consider documenting and distributing the rules both at the lottery party as well and when the boater's register. Hopefully they'll take this suggestion but we won't know because we'll be rafting up next year.

Gianmarco Martuscelli said...

To All of the above:

I consider all of your comments very enlightening and am in the process of using them to better our way of communicating our rules and regulations to our valuable patrons. For future Canal Days, we will be posting all rules and regs on or website, in a packet you receive from the lottery party and of course when you arrive for that weekend. Hopefully this method will eliminate all confusion in the future.

Canal Day has evolved in a very large festival in many ways for my restaurant. All current policies and procedures have evolved over the years as we have learned through trial and error how to refine our practices. Our ultimate goal each and every day of the year is to provide a safe and fun environment where people may enjoy quality food and drinks. This is especially true on Canal Day. When someone wins a slip for Canal Day weekend, the “welcome packet” that awaits them upon signing in (a value of about $100 per boat) includes two VIP bracelets (good for all access all weekend), two Canal Day t-shirts, and 10 Dock admission bracelets that allow 10 guests of their choice to partake in the festivities from their boat all day Friday and Saturday. The reason behind limiting Dock access is multi-dimensional. We have seen, in previous years, many occurrences that led us to limiting Dock access. Aside from sinking Docks due to the sheer number of people congregating on them, problems have occurred with random people boarding a stranger’s boat, helping themselves to the boat owner’s alcohol, becoming offended when said boat owner asks them to leave, then starting a fight, etc. The solution we came up with was a custom bracelet that could not be duplicated (that happened one year) so that those with the right to enjoy the Docks could do so uninterrupted by rowdy, freeloading strangers. We came up with the magic number of 2 VIP bands because most boat owners come in on Thursday, and most of their guests arrive Saturday. The “General Admission” bracelets, being custom as well, are not passed out in advance for obvious reasons. The year that we attempted to give all access passes to boaters for all of their guests, we had an absolute CLUSTER at the front door with the “…my friend has my bracelet…&…I have to wait here…” stories. This resulted in a line for the front door that extended to THE TAP ROOM!!!!! We decided that the most efficient way forward would be to leave Dock bracelets with the boat owners, and once their guests had gained entry onto the premises, they could rendezvous at an agreed upon place on our Deck to pass on the Dock bracelet and go on about their day.

With regards to the cover charge on both Friday and Saturday, this was put into place in an attempt to deflect some of the astronomical costs associated with putting on an event of Canal Day’s magnitude. Dumpsters, porta potties, ice, fencing, tents, satellite parking lots, generators to light those lots, diesel to run those generators, Shuttles to transport people to and from those lots, etc.--the list of expenses goes on and on. Add to that list the lack of product being sold (ie- all of the food we normally sell on a busy weekend) and the miscellaneous labor that we pay out of pocket to people that do not receive tips (bus people, those that run our food tent, our refuse management team, etc). Then, once you factor in entertainment, security, and donations to the town and law enforcement agencies, the amount of money it COSTS us to host Canal Day is truly mind boggling. People who have never put on an event such as Canal Day see the volume of people here and say “…they must make a million dollars today…” perception never ceases to amaze us. It’s human nature and it angers us, but we just do our best to stay calm and explain reality.
Canal Day is not something that we dreamed up as a way to profit obscenely. It predates us, and as we grew out of our infancy, the demands put on us by the public grew as well. Opening the side parking lot, the food tent, a second band stage, removing the tables from the Deck—these are all things that we have done in an effort to alleviate the congestion that we experienced in those early years and spread out the masses. Unfortunately, the bloggers and commentators all think that we are an irresponsible, greedy, money machine whose sole goal is to exploit the public for profit no matter the expense to others. The reality is that we dedicate our lives, quite literally, to the pursuit of living up to the standards that we have set for ourselves. We are not here to cheat anyone out of anything, and we run an extremely difficult business the only way we know how, honestly. I do take offense to being called a "greedy dirtbag", for those of you that know me I am far from that. For those of you that defended the CI, I’d like to personally thank you one day, so please do not post anonymously.

Thank you so much for your kind words. It really means a lot to us to know that (some) people take notice of how much time, energy, and pride we put into making The Chesapeake Inn what it is today.

Thanks again,

Gianmarco Martuscelli
& Management Staff – Chesapeake Inn said...

Well put, Gianmarco. I'm sure people are happy to know you are paying attention to some concerns being raised. And thanks for putting all the details out there to help people understand what all goes into being part of such a big event.

Ed Heller said...

Well said, Gianmarco. In my opinion, the Chesapeake Inn is the best thing that has ever happened to Chesapeake City. Those that have no clue the time and money and dedication it takes to pull off an event such as Canal Days should educate themselves a bit. (My crew had the time of their lives this year btw and all want to return in '09). I am also a frequent visitor of CI, the food is fabulous (Especially those softshell crab sandwiches :)and the waitstaff excellent. Cheers !

-Ed Heller
Chesapeake City

Anonymous said...

8 years and counting going to Canal Day and was let down by the turn out, mainly because of rummors and people being scared of law enforcement. Hopefully next year gas prices won't be so bad and we get more boats out on the water.

The coast guard this year was a bit strict for the boaters. I attend the Inn all year long, and go to the Halloween party and the Raffle in the winter and it is a fun time. But Canal Day is more then the Inn, to me it is Marti Gras on the water, and this year it was not the same.

If this continues, many boaters were talking this year about having an "old" style canal day at Lloyd Creek the last weekend in July consisting of water ballons, water guns, boobs and beads. We could have two great parties in back to back months. The family oriented event at CI and the wild party at Lloyd Creek. It seems like that Canal Day will continue to become more tame as time goes on and more police are on the water.

Obviously Canal Day will always go on, but missed the friendly water gun fights and ballon lanchers from the past years.


Old Guy who doesn't grow up