One of the great events of the season is once again scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 8th – 10th. Held each year the weekend after Labor Day. The Tugboat Roundup is one of the premier events on the Erie Canal each year.
2017 begins the bi-centennial celebration of the ground-breaking for the Erie Canal. With events taking place throughout the communities within the Canal Corridor, the Tugboat roundup is proud to be part of and illustrate the history of the Erie as a family oriented festival along the “Waterford Wall” at the eastern gateway to the Erie Canal.
As the name suggests, it’s all about the Boats, and Tugboats are the modern-day work horses on the Canal.
Tugboats will face-off on Saturday and Sunday competing with raw strength and piloting skills. Deckhands will toss heavy lines and “show you how it’s done”
There will be clown’s and face-painters, puppet shows, take a pony ride or jump in the bounce house. Tour boat rides on the Hudson and through the locks. Saturday ends with a great firework show over the harbour.
For one weekend each year, Waterford’s historic waterfront is transformed back into a rendering of its commercial heyday during which names like Godfrey, Coyne, Bushey Matton, Kehoe and Cowles figured so prominently along the waterfront. Tugs new and old moor stem to stern for adulation and education, enchanting the young and reminding the young at heart of days gone by.
The Tugboat Roundup is produced annually by the Town of Waterford and supported by many generous corporate sponsors. The event has grown steadily and attracts thousands of people to this sleepy canal town in the heart of upstate New York’s Capital Region.
2017 Tugboat Roundup Schedule
Throughout the Weekend, Visit Food and Craft Vendors, Souvenir stands and shore-displays. Look for the Farmer’s Market at Lock 2. Many of the Tugs will be open for walk-through tours, too.
All events are free, although boat rides do have a nominal charge. Boat tickets are available at their docks.
Note that not all times are specific – mini-tugs may be going out anytime. Push-off’s and nose to nose competitions are an involved project and are solely based on the decisions of captains, crews and other issues.
You can expect a great, fun-filled family weekend with great people, a terrific collection of vendors, artists, displays, exhibits and really cool tugboats. Spectacular fireworks on Saturday night! What do you need to bring? A camera, your family and good weather.
Friday, September 8th
12:00 noon – Tugs leave Waterford to join others along the Albany waterfront.
Remember: This is all TUGBOAT time!!
3:45 Tugs muster at the Erastus Corning Preserve and head north on the Hudson River. They should be in Watervliet and South Troy around 4:30 or so and soon after northbound from the Troy lock.
5:30 Tugs start arriving in Waterford amid great celebration at the 18th Annual Waterford Tugboat Roundup.
4:00 – 7:00 Music begins in front of the Visitor’s Center. Bands play throughout the weekend!
Saturday, September 9
Morning is a great time for pictures of the boats and vendors start opening around 10.
Throughout the day, the Farmer’s Market will be at Lock 2. The mini-tugs will be doing their thing with antics up and down the canal and maybe even through the lock! Some of the tugs will be open for walk-throughs and on shore are the vendors, demonstrations, kid’s activities, exhibits and more. Don’t forget the new boat show at lock 2 and tours of the venerable and historic Tug Urger. Line-splicing and knot-tying seminars will be taking place, too! (The boat show is produced by the Eastern NY Marine Dealer’s Association, Southern Saratoga Chamber of Commerce and Boating on The Hudson.)
The Caldwell Belle will provide boat rides on the Hudson and by the tugs on 45-minute tours (tickets at their boat, down by the “battery”).
11:00 – 8:30 Music continues on the Grand Erie, in front of the visitor’s center.
11:00 – 12:00 “Barge Talk” Growing Commerce on the Canals and River
12:30 Line Tossing, round 1 (at the Battery)
12:00 – dusk Kid’s activities open at Lock 2, including a bounce house and pony rides (ponies until 4)
2:00 – 3:00 “Barge Talk” Anniversary News for Canals and Updates from Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
8:30 (or dark) Fireworks!!
Sunday, September 10
On Sunday, we’ll be doing many of the same things – and just a little bit more. Look for the Mini-Tugs, vendors, demonstrations and exhibits. Stop by the Farmer’s Market at lock 2 along with the boat show. Tour the Urger, see how the locks work and more. Some of the boats will be open for walk-through tours today, too!
The Caldwell Belle boat rides continue – from the Battery with tickets available at the boat.
10:00 The 5K walk / run “Tugboat Chug”
11:00 – 3:00 Music continues on the Grand Erie, in front of the Visitor’s Center
11:00 – 12:00 “Barge Talk” History and Story behind the 2017 Tug of the Year
12:15 Line Tossing Round 2 At the Battery
12:00 Kid’s activities resume at Lock 2
1:30 – 2:30 “Barge Talk” 9/11 Boat Lift from Manhattan, told by a captain of a tug involved.
3:30 All of this is not without reward. Like any good festival with competitive machines and crew – we have an Award Program. Right in front of the Visitor’s Center with awards ranging from Best Vintage Tug, to Nose to Nose, 1st Place, to Best Mini-Tug and for whoever wins the Line-Toss event. It’s fun, light and a great way to close a great weekend.
Look for the People’s Choice Award too, balloting will have taken place all weekend.
For more information on the event visit their web site at www.tugboatroundup.com