Calling all small boat lovers. Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) will hold a Big Little Boat Festival Saturday, May 13 at Conquest Beach in Centreville, MD, on the Chester River. Registration is free!

big little boat festival
You'll find paddle craft and small sailboats at the Big Little Boat Festival. Image of 2022 festival courtesy of CLC

This one-day rendezvous will be held rain or shine and will be packed with fun family activities to include a kids’ cardboard boat building competition and race, SUP and rowing coaching, and, of course, small boat seminars and demos. 

On-water demos will run from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m., and during that time informal coaching on SUP or rowing will be available on the beach. Technical seminars will run at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m., approximately. The exact schedule may adjust slightly, so check the website,, before heading to Centreville. The kids’ cardboard boat building and race will begin at 1 p.m., and boat building awards will be presented at 4 p.m. 

There is no trailer launching on the beach, so bring a dolly to launch if you have one. Big boat launch information to be available soon.

Camping will be available Friday and Saturday nights, so make a whole weekend of it. Conquest Beach is situated on the 758-acre Conquest Preserve between the Corsica and Chester Rivers. It boasts a living shoreline and a huge pavilion that can seat more than 100 people. The facility has nice restrooms and indoor showers. No fires and no pets. Camping reservations must be made by May 8. Camping is restricted to tents and small campers (less than 13 feet in length).

This event was formally known as OkoumeFest. It took a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic and ran in 2021 as a low-key, outdoor affair. Last year it was a multi-day festival at Camp Wabanna in Edgewater, MD. Find more information and registration for this year’s event at