The Eastern Shore Seaglass & Coastal Arts Festival in April is so popular a second event is now held in time for the holidays. Photo: CBMM/Facebook

Find Bay Gifts at Eastern Shore Sea Glass Festival’s Holiday Edition

When Kim Hannon, creator and host of the Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival,  moved to the Eastern Shore 15 years ago she began to see a lot of seaglass.

“When I opened [the boutique] Ophiuroidea in St. Michaels, people would bring it in and we would sell their art. That’s what sparked my interest.”

Now in its 11th year and second on the campus of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM), the Holiday Edition of the Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival takes place on November 19-20. The Sea Glass Festival traditionally takes place in the spring, but has proven so popular that it’s been expanded to a second event.

The festival features coastal and sea-glass related items including jewelry, glassware, driftwood art, home decor, pottery and other handcrafted creations by artists from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and around the country.

Tilghman Island Studio brought this heron sea glass artwork to a past Eastern Shore Sea Glass Festival. Facebook photo.

Over the years, the festival grew to become “a whole sea glass family of people who’ve made lifetime friends,” Hannon says. While it began in a smaller venue, the festival needed more space and found it at CBMM in St. Michaels. Hannon, who is Treasurer and Secretary of the Beachcoming Center, President of the North American Sea Glass Association and the St. Michaels Business Association says, “The Museum is a beautiful campus and it lets us spread out more and include more artists.”

The November event tees up perfectly for Christmas shopping. “This one is definitely focused on the holiday season, giving shoppers the chance to find unique gifts they might not be able to find in other places,” Hannon says.

For true collectors, genuine sea glass is literally trash to treasure. Unlike artificial pieces altered by acid or rock tumblers, authentic sea glass comes from broken bottles, glassware  and pottery dumped or washed into in the water and transformed by time and the sea. If you’ve got pieces you’d like to identify, take them to Mary McCarthy, Executive Director of The Beachcombing Center and sea glass expert. On Saturday and Sunday she’ll be available under the Lighthouse on Navy Point for Shard ID. “She can determine what era the piece could have come from, and among other identifiers including color, determine whether it had been a bottle or plate or a dish,” Hannon says.

On Saturday during the festival, join CBBM shipwrights and Butter Pat Industries (a manufacturer of cast iron cookware with a devoted following), in an iron pour. You can purchase and create your own relief carving in resin-bonded sand. Between 4 and 7 pm, find out how it works, from the furnace lighting to the pouring of molten iron. Come back and pick up your unique creation on Sunday, when after cooling, the sand molds will be opened.

Headlining the Festival’s entertainment at the Tolchester Pavilion will be songwriter, storyteller and former Voice contestant Nelly’s Echo. He’ll be joined in the musical lineup by Anna Burgess, Chris Sacks and Dave Hawkins. Beer, food and wine will be available for purchase. Parking won’t be a problem with space available at the CBMM  parking lot and municipal parking lots around town. Additional free parking will be available at St. Michaels High School, with a complimentary shuttle service to and from CBMM running throughout the day.

One ticket to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum covers both days of the festival, including the bonus of entrance to all CBMM exhibits. No single day tickets will be available. Tickets can be purchased online for the Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival or at the festival’s entrance.

To learn more about the Iron Pour Demonstration, visit the Pour on the Shore event page.

The Sea Glass Festival returns next year with its 13th Annual Spring Festival, April 22-23, 2023.

-Niambi Davis