This Saturday's Blessing of the Fleet event features a "boat"-load of activities for visitors and residents alike.
Hosted by the Greater Baldwinsville Chamber of Commerce (GBCC), the day kicks off with the annual free Kids' Fishing Derby (for children from 5 to 12 years old) at Mercer Park. The first 50 participants will get a free fishing pole and all are eligible to win one of a dozen prizes. The derby takes place at 9 a.m. at the park and registration begins at 8:15 a.m.
New this year is the Seneca River Sprints, a recreational three-mile canoe/kayak race beginning at Mercer Park, then traveling to the 690 bridge and back.
"We are looking for ways to make more use of our shores along the Seneca River, which is part of the Erie Canal lock system," said Lee Wilder, executive director of the GBCC. She added that Carmella Montello, the director of the New York State Canal Corporation, put it best during the opening ceremony for last month's Carp Tournament when she said, "We have a national treasure here in Baldwinsville."
The race will be held at noon and each participant will get a boater's bag and are eligible to win one of a dozen prizes. Registration Saturday will be $15.
The day's big event starts with the boat parade at 2 p.m. beginning at Cooper's Marina and ending at the Southwest Trail, where each boat will be blessed. To participate in the Blessing of the Fleet, which will be officiated by Shane Kennard of The Bridge Church, boaters should register at Cooper's Marina. The Coast Guard will be on hand for boat inspections and no fee will be charged.
This year also features an open clambake beginning at 3:30 p.m. with live entertainment and raffles throughout the day.
"Every year the chamber hosts a barbecue type event for its members. This year we thought we would change it up and have an open clambake for everyone to participate," Wilder said. "This current chamber board doesn't like to do the same thing twice. We are always looking for new ways to excite enthusiasm from the community we live in and have all our businesses prosper."