Oswego Canal Festival to be held Sept. 1-3

Representatives from the Oswego Elk’s Lodge No. 271 recently presented a generous donation to help support youth activities at the Oswego Canal Festival. Pictured from left are Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum; John Pelmear, exalted ruler of the Oswego Elk’s Lodge No. 271; and Dan Capella, past president of the Oswego Elk’s Lodge No. 271 and past president of the H. Lee White Marine Museum.

The H. Lee White Marine Museum will hosts the Oswego Canal Festival to honor the New York State Barge Canal System.

Festivities run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 through Monday, Sept. 3 at Oswego’s Historic Maritime District on West First Street Pier.

“The Oswego Canal played an important role in transporting products and people between the canal, the Great Lakes and beyond,” said Mercedes Niess, executive director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum. “Our 1925 Derrick Boat No. 8 served on the canal for 60 years and is now a restored piece of history that helps tell the story.”

Another highlight of the festival will be a visit by the Lois McClure, an 1860s canal schooner that was built by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

The boat depicts 19th century canal ships that both sailed on open water and moved people and goods through the canal systems. This historic vessel is currently making the voyage to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

Niess added, “In addition to the boats, we will have activities, crafts and historic presentations for the whole family to enjoy as we celebrate New York’s rich canal history.”

Visitors can try their hand at washing and ironing clothes “the old-fashioned way,” learn how to make paper jewelry beads, indulge in homemade pies, or participate in making butter with a simple mason jar, said Niess.

In addition, there will be old-time games aboard the Derrick Boat. Children can make paper boats that float and enter a friendly boat race in the museum’s special stainless steel tank.

Historic presentations are scheduled throughout the weekend and museum guides will discuss the canal system and Oswego’s maritime history.

The museum’s other vessels, the LT-5, a National Historic Landmark WWII Tug; the Eleanor D, a historic fishing boat; and the Ontario, the Oswego Maritime Foundation schooner, will be open for viewing.

In addition, the Oswego Maritime Foundation will host a display that highlights youth sailing, fishing, diving and more.

“This event allows us the opportunity to show off our waterfront and highlight our maritime history,” noted Rich Bush, president of the board of trustees for the H. Lee White Marine Museum.

Festival admission is free and the museum will offer reduced admission to visit the main building.

Those seeking more information about the Oswego Canal Festival may call the H. Lee White Marine Museum at 342-0480.

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