If you’re looking for a fun event that will tug at the heartstrings (excuse the pun) of any tugboat lover, plan to be in upstate New York the weekend after Labor Day.
The charming canal town of Waterford, N.Y., 12 miles north of Albany at the junction of the Erie and Champlain canals, will hold its annual Tugboat Roundup along its historic waterfront from Sept. 7-9.
The roundup, which was canceled last year due to high water, began in 1999 to promote the maritime heritage of the New York State Canal System and other nearby inland waterways.
The region has a rich tugboat history. Tugs lined the shores there for most of the 20th century, waiting their turn to lockup up through the “Waterford Flight,” the highest set of lift locks in the world.
Today the waterfront has given way to mostly recreational boats, but for one weekend a year, Waterford recreates its historic link to the commercial tugboat industry.
Coming together from all over New York state and the Northeast, historic and modern-day working tugs will be joined by barges, fireboats, workboats and towboats. The weekend schedule will feature tug tours, a tugboat parade out of the Port of Albany, fireworks, a line-throwing competition, a tugboat nose-to-nose competition, and family events. Expect lots of horn blowing and water spraying! It’s a perfect way to end the summer.
Registration is still open if you’d like to enter your tug in the roundup.