May 20-21 Family Bicycle Canal Celebration

Waterford Canal Festival ~Saturday, 5/20, 10 AM-6 PM and Sunday, 5/21, 10 AM – 4 PM.

Enjoy family fun with a children’s bicycle safety rodeo, guided historical walking tour along the old Champlain Canal, and a bike ride/tour on the Champlain Canalway Trail (CCT).

History – 2023 is a special year along the Champlain Canal. Two hundred years ago, the Champlain Canal was opened for use. The first such canal in New York State, it connected the Hudson River with Lake Champlain creating an inland waterway from New York City to Canada.

Canal boats were pulled by mules back in the day

The Champlain Canalway Trail Working Group (CCTWG) will celebrate this milestone with tours and bike safety rodeos. The weekend of May 20-21 is the annual Canal Fest in Waterford, commemorating the annual reopening of the Champlain Canal.  At 10:30 AM on Saturday, May 20, Russ Vandervort, Town Historian, will guide visitors on a walk from the Waterford Visitor Center to Old Lock 5, a 3-mile round trip. Walk along the tree-lined canal towpath to hear an interesting story of the beginning of the Champlain Canal. Do not be late for this walk as attendance is limited.

Original Champlain Canal

At 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 21, John Gillivan, of Albany Bicycle Coalition and CCTWG Southern Tier Chairperson, will lead a bike tour on the Champlain Canalway Trail from Waterford to Upper Newtown Road and back, an 11-mile round trip. Bring your bike and helmet and ride along. Commemorative t-shirts will be available while supply lasts.

Champlain Canalway Trail

Throughout the weekend, volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and educate visitors about bike safety and properly fitting helmets. There will be games for children to hone their riding skills.