This weekend, nearly three dozen boats are expected along the Waterford wall, in front of the Visitor’s Center, for three days as the town relives its canal heyday for its annual tugboat round-up. Now in its 14th year, the Waterford tugboat Roundup and has become one of the four premier waterfront festivals in New York State and the largest maritime festival north of New York City.
Family-friendly music plays from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, tugs will be open for tours, kid’s games and activities, tour boat rides, line-tossing, tours of the tugs and more. Shuttle busses will run from remote parking. There is no charge for the event (other than a nominal charge for the tour boats).
Ninety six years ago, the modern day Erie Canal was officially opened. Waterford was now officially at the gateway to the western water route. Tugboats lined up just below the flight of locks, waiting to push their barges and pull their tows off to places like Utica, Syracuse, Rochester and beyond. Through the middle of the 20th century and even into the 1970’s, these powerful boats pushed their way into the heart of New York State.
A boat parade will begin in the Port of Albany this Friday at about 2:30 – 2:45, then work its way north. More and more boats will join in the parade and by the time it comes out of the Federal lock in Troy, all or nearly all boats should be involved. Good viewing of the parade may be had in the vicinity of 112th Street in Troy / Cohoes and north to Waterford.
At least 9 different music groups have been scheduled, all from the Capital District. On Sunday, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will be dedicating the Waterford – Troy bridge as a significant engineering achievement in America. This dedication will take place at noon.