Tag Archives: Harborfest

Sawyer Brown

If you were listening to country music in the mid 1980’s, you probably remember a band by the name of Sawyer Brown.  They appeared on the tv talent show “Star Search” in 1983, winning the Vocal Group category that year. Do any of these song titles ring a bell: “Step That Step”, “Betty’s Bein’ Bad”, “The Walk”, “I’ll Take The Dirt Road”, “Some Girls Do”, “Cafe On The Corner”, “All These Years”, “Smokin’ In The Rockies”? Obviously they’ve had many hits.

I don’t recall how I first came to know about them, but saw them in concert at Harborfest in Norfolk in 1986.  The following year, I saw them at Hampton Coliseum, when they opened for Hank Williams, Jr.  The afternoon of that concert, they appeared at a meet and greet at a local record shop (remember those?).

Marshall and I attended that meet and greet. I still remember little Marshall’s comment to Mark Miller, the lead singer: “I like your music.”

I forgot what I said – I’m guessing I was a bit more stage struck than Marshall.

I also went to a couple more of their concerts, the last one being probably 1995-1996.

Recently, I learned that they would be performing at a theater about an hour from us.  Our tickets to the concert were part of Motor Man’s Valentine gift to me.

The venue was The Beacon Theater in Hopewell, Va. The Beacon was built in 1928, and was originally a silent movie and vaudeville show theater.  It was abandoned in 1981, and sat vacant for many years until a renovation project began in 1999. The theater reopened in 2015. When we stepped inside last Friday evening, I recalled that the last time I was in that building was in 1967, when my late sister, Rose, took me to see the movie “To Sir With Love”.

Motor Man and I had purchased passes for a meet and greet prior to the concert. Sadly, we weren’t able to take our camera in the theater, so cell phone pictures would have to do.

Mark was as personable as could be, as were the other band members.

I took with me the photos from 1987.  All the guys seemed to have one comment at seeing those: “Wow”.

Since I’d kept up with the pictures all these years, I thought it appropriate to have them autographed.

For those of you who remember Sawyer Brown, I thought you might like to see this video I took during the concert, again with my cell phone.  As you can see, we had great seats, and the show was as much as fun as the ones I attended years ago.


Motor Man enjoyed the concert almost as much as I did, so I’m thinking that, the next time Sawyer Brown returns to our area, you just may find us in the audience.

~These Days Of Mine~






Operation Sail

Waterside is located on the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, and is about an hour from us. It was built in the early 1990’s, and consists mostly of shops and restaurants. Each June, it is the site of Harborfest, and the Opsail (Operation Sail) events as they occur.

This weekend was Harborfest, as well as Opsail 2012, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  Motor Man, Marshall and I decided to visit early Sunday morning.

The Coast Guard Cutter, Eagle, has been host to all five previous Opsail events (1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, and 2000). The Opsail of 2000 was the first one I really knew about. I was surprised, when researching it for this post, to learn there had been so many, dating back that far.

Tall ships, representing many countries, come together during Opsail. The event ends with the Parade of Sail in New York on July 4. This is the Picton Castle, whose home port is the Cook Islands.

Motor Man took this of Marshall and me with the Eagle in the background.

And Marshall took some photos of Motor Man and me in front of the Brazilian tall ship Cisne Branco. This one was taken when Motor Man was playing nice.

And this one when he wasn’t. (No, we are NOT dancing.)

And when he was forgiven.

It was a fun, beautiful morning in the “Mermaid City”.


Each year, around the first of June, Norfolk, Va. hosts Harborfest. It’s one of those typical summer festivals: food, entertainment, concerts, sunshine, liquid refreshment (lemonade for us, thank you).  Although this was the 35th year,  I believe it was only the third Harborfest I’ve ever attended.  Motor Man and I drove to Portsmouth and rode the paddlewheel ferry across the Elizabeth River.

The river was a busy place with police and fire boats, vintage workboats, tugs and pleasure craft. Tall ships were anchored at the waterfront and most were open for tours. That large boat in the center is the lunch/dinner cruise ship, The Spirit of Norfolk, which is docked at Waterside on the Norfolk waterfront.

Motor Man and I have a fondness for tug-boats. He’s amazed at their power. I just think they’re cute.

This workboat, Rainbow Chaser, belongs to a friend of ours. He competed in the Harborfest Workboat Race and finished second, when the turbo-charger broke just short of the finish line.  (And you just KNOW that I know what a turbo-charger is, don’t you?)

The Coast Guard Cutter, Beluga, was docked at the waterfront and was open for tours. So Motor Man and I went aboard, where we discovered steep ladders and tight quarters.

This beautiful tall ship is the Kalmar Nyckel. You may be reading more about her in a future post.

After a couple of hours in the sun and 90 degree temps, Motor Man and I were ready to board the ferry for the return trip across the river. We were dog-tired.