Gettin’ Frisky on the Wisky
Who knew a battleship could be so hip?
I, for one, had no idea, until I stepped aboard the Battleship Wisconsin on May 30 for the 2nd Annual “Gettin’ Frisky on the Wisky’ outdoor waterfront party hosted by Sail Nauticus. Although I’ve passed by the stately vessel parked in the Elizabeth River many times, this was my first time stepping foot on the ship, and I certainly did pick a good evening to explore.
After checking in inside the Nauticus lobby, I grabbed a freshly-concocted mojito to sip on, a manchego, pineapple and blueberry-skewered kabob to nosh on and a flower lei to get the party on.
Twinkle lights were adorably strung overhead, setting the atmosphere for a perfect evening aboard a historic battleship. Approximately 500 guests, all dressed in their best nautical chic attire, were having a grand time on the fantail of the battleship, mingling, playing rounds of cornhole and even learning to tie nautical knots.
The event featured an open bar where friendly staffers were steadily pouring wine as well as local beer from Smartmouth and O’Connor and mixing delicious sips. Plenty of food stations catered by Cuisine and Company lined the deck where guests nibbled on miniature twice stuffed potatoes topped with cheddar, grilled chicken fiesta wraps and open-faced beef tender sandwiches. I made a beeline for the make-your-own fish taco bar that featured a delectable black bean and corn topping, as well as a pineapple salsa.
Later on, I indulged in a not-so-modest portion from the Mac & Cheese Bar and topped the gooey, cheesy goodness with scallions, tomatoes, bread crumbs and—oh yes—lots of bacon.
Jazzy hits from local group Strictly Bizzness filled the air. The band started with some familiar, relaxing tunes in the beginning, then broke out the dance songs later in the evening.
Guests had a fabulous time getting their nautical grooves on, and the multi-hued, light-up floor made dancing irresistible.
As much fun as it would be to boogie on the battleship any ole night of the week, this party had a purpose—raising funds to go toward the purchase of a teaching sailboat for Sail Nauticus.
In case you’re not already familiar, Sail Nauticus is a community sailing center in Downtown Norfolk that offers a free after-school program, Sail Academy, geared to middle school students in Norfolk Public Schools. In the academy, students learn sailing, swimming and water safety and participate in maritime science-based activities using concepts in physics, math and geometry. Program participants can receive academic credit, along with learning leadership abilities and different skills, and they get a chance at starting new friendships, making it an incomparable experience.
Sail Nauticus also offers various youth summer camps that accommodate beginners as well as experienced sailors.
In addition to tonight’s swanky soiree, guests had the opportunity to bid on another unforgettable evening on the Wisconsin: a chance to host a catered July 4th fireworks party on the ship, featuring a catered country picnic and beer and wine for up to 25 guests. Minimum bids for the event started at $1,000.
As the evening drew to a close, I sipped a final cocktail while gazing over the bow of the ship, onto the Elizabeth River and the sailboats dotting the water. I thought about how lucky we are as Coastal Virginians to be surrounded by beautiful bodies of water, and because of tonight’s event, our local kids will get to experience the water in ways that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. It’s opening their eyes to a whole new, exciting world of possibilities, and that’s something I can get on board with.