Smooth sailing for Canalfest '12
Every year for the last ten years residents of Rome have pitched in thousands of dollars to the Rotary Club for their annual Canalfest fundraiser. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us about some of the events that helped make this year's efforts smooth sailing.
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ROME, N.Y.-- There was a lot floating in and around the canal in Rome Sunday.
Some things natural, some not so natural, but it's all part of the tenth annual Canalfest.
"We have rides for kids, we have food, we have raffles, a flower show, we have a photography contest, a little bit for almost anybody," said Rotary Club Canalfest Treasurer David Kobernuss.
Around the canal there were scores of rides and carnival games. But the canal itself and the variety of boats in it have become the main attractions.
"What makes it fun, is things like this Anything But a Boat Race," Kobernuss said.
Some of the teams in the increasingly popular Anything But a Boat Race were families, others friends from work. Some even made their boats out of what they work with.
"I'm the owner of D and B 5 Cent Returns Center and two of my employees entered a boat in the race and we're here to cheer them on," spectator Donna Pippen said.
You wouldn't think a boat made out of recycled cans would float this well, but they are the defending champions here. There were actual boats on the water as well, and one was even greener than the recyclable raft.
"The Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company built the Loon. It's the world's first solar powered recreational boat and we built it right here in Rome, New York," said owner Monte Gisborne.
Canalfest is also a great place to catch up on your New York history, like taking a tour through the inside of a 1901 tugboat.
"The Tug Urger is a 111-year-old antique tug boat that's been with the canal system since 1922," crew member Mike Byrnes said.
Now they use the boat mostly to teach kids about history and the great importance of the Erie Canal.
"The Erie Canal is what gave New York State the name the Empire State. It really opened up New York State to industry and also the Great Lakes area," Byrnes said.
With so much going on during Canalfest, it's really whatever floats your boat.