Jul 06, 2010 Julia Merulla Uncategorized
By Julia Merulla
The sixteenth annual Seneca River Days will take place this weekend on Friday at Paper Mill Island and Saturday at Mercer Park, with many free and family-friendly events for the community.
The event is hosted by the Baldwinsville Rotary Club. Seneca River Days usually draws several thousand people each year and raises $5,000 to $10,000, depending on turnout due to weather, said Ann Smiley, director of Lysander Parks & Recreation.
This year, there are a couple changes to the itinerary. The Baldwinsville Public Library is sponsoring a two-hour “History Baldwinsville Boat Cruise” on Friday to kick off Seneca River Days, said Bob Manning, a trustee on the Baldwinsville Public Library Board.
Sue McManus, director of the Museum at Shacksboro Schoolhouse, will read from her newly published book “Images of America — Greater Baldwinsville.” Several local legislators have been invited, and Manning said a few of them are expected to attend.
The cruise leaves from Dutchman’s Landing on Friday evening.
Also a first for Seneca River Days is a concert at Paper Mill Island on Friday night. Joe Whiting, a jazz, rhythm and blues, and classic rock musician will perform at 6:30 p.m. Smiley said Whiting has a large following in the Central New York area.
Activities are scheduled all morning and afternoon at Mercer Park. Saturday morning begins with the Seneca River 5K Duck Run for adults and smaller run for kids called the “Duck Waddle.”
Two of the most popular events involve floating items down the river, Smiley said. In the “Anything That Floats” contest, participants race homemade, self-propelled creations from Cooper’s Marina to Mercer Park.
“We’ve seen it all,” Smiley said. “It’s absolutely entertaining and draws quite a crowd.”
The highly anticipated Duck Race is at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Participants buy a ticket that corresponds to a number on a plastic rubber duck. One duck costs $5, or a “flock” of six is $25. The ducks are dumped off the back of a boat and float freely down the Seneca River.
The first 18 to cross the finish line win prizes, including a $2,000 cash prize for the first-place winner. For the remaining winners, there are cash prizes in smaller amounts, as well as prize packages and gift certificates to local businesses. The prizes are provided by community members, organizations and businesses.
“(The race) always brings a huge crowd because everyone is rooting their duck on,” Smiley said.
New this year is bounce houses for children, which replace amusement rides in the past that parents had to pay for. There will also be a “tumble bus,” an old school bus that has been converted into an area for gymnastics activities. Home Depot will again provide a wooden craft workshop for kids, which was popular last year, Smiley said.
Hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage and chicken barbecue, among other items, will be available. Some local churches will provide root beer floats and fried dough, Smiley said.
“Our bottom line is to raise money so we can give it back to the community,” Smiley said.
The money made at Seneca River Days helps the Rotary Club support the local community. It donates money to the senior ball after-party, funds scholarships for students, and supports the food pantry and fire department, as well as additional community organizations and events.
“We have had wonderful community support from many of the merchants in our community that have sponsored many of the events and given prizes for the duck race,” Smiley said. “We truly appreciate all of their support because they’re a big part of how all this happens.”