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.