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Seneca River Days celebrates 15 years

Jacqueline Olmsted anticipates a big crowd at Mercer Park July 10 and 11.

"This is our 15th year and we keep growing," the Baldwinsville Rotarian said about the organization's Seneca River Days event. "All we need is Mother Nature's cooperation."

Held every year along the Seneca River, the two-day event is a family affair with carnival rides, demonstrations, food and fireworks, not to mention the Great Seneca River Duck Race, which culminates the fun. For the race, participants simply purchase a $5 duck (or six for $25), which is then dropped into the river at 4 p.m. Saturday along with everyone else's little racer. The owner of the first duck to cross the finish line receives $2,000 in cash. There are also prizes for the second through 16th place winners.

That's just the tip of the iceberg regarding Seneca River Day happenings, though. The tugboat "Urger" will be on display throughout the event along the canal wall near the Visitor Center and one lucky child will win a bicycle Friday night courtesy of HSBC Bank USA. Fireworks cap Friday night off at 9:30 p.m. (sponsored by Hudson & Mowins).

The third annual Duck Waddle for children, followed by the Seneca River Duck Run kick off Saturday's events. At 9:30 a.m., the carnival rides, crafts and food booths open at Mercer Park.

One big change from previous years is the cancellation of the water skiing show.

"The [water skiiers] were a pretty large expense," Olmsted said. "Plus, some people said it was becoming too tacky and silly -- we received comments suggesting we do something different."

The Baldwinsville Volunteer Fire Department will pick up where the water skiiers left off with a water rescue show at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The show will be in addition to the department's annual chicken barbecue and on-site fire trucks for children to explore. Other new features include fingerprinting by the Police Explorers, a demonstration by the Syracuse Model Boat Club, a Coast Guard demonstration on how to properly put on a life jacket and a children's workshop presented by the Home Depot in Clay.

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