People from Connecticut and all over the eastern coast attended the nautically-themed festival, Fish Tales, Tugs & Sails, at Waterfront Park, Saturday.
Alex Rader, of Germantown, Maryland said she came to see her aunt work on the Enviro-Lab II, a research vessel for Project Oceanology.
"It's my favorite boat on the whole dock," she said, of the boat that carried a myriad of sea creatures for kids to touch and hold.
The free festival, which had its sixth run this year, is organized by and sponsored by several commercial entities and received grant funds from Connecticut Humanities Council, according to organizer Tracey Tremblay of New London Main Street.
"We do it because there's really no other festival that's geared toward kids and has a real theme," said Tremblay. "It celebrates literature and the environment"
Indeed, pirates, authors and musicians regaled children and adults with songs and stories about nature.
"We pick books that teach the kids about the environment in a fun way," said Cris Staubach, head of youth services at .
Author Laya Steinberg read her books "Thesaurus Rex" and "All Around Me I See" to children gathered around on small rugs
"It was great," said author Laya Steinberg. "Even though it was hot, the kids were really engaged."
Captain Jean Papillion, a pirate from New Orleans, taught children rowdy, boastful songs about a pirate's way of life while New London students in the Lighthouse Kids and Sea Chantey Chorus, arrived in sailor's outfits and sang, in good harmony, about a nautical way of life.
Steve Elci and Friends, a band that debuted at last year's festival, sang and danced with audience members to songs about animals and environmental issues, like recycling.
"There is nothing better than seeing parents and children singing and dancing to music we created," he said of the atmosphere at the festival. "The energy and excitement from the kids who want to hear more makes us want to write more."