The General Clinton Canoe Regatta has been shortened by one day this year and will be held May 27-29 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will be the 60th year that canoeists will descend the Susquehanna River from several different starting points from Cooperstown to Sidney, in several different races before finishing at General Clinton Park in Bainbridge. The race was canceled in 2020 but was held virtually in 2021, regatta chairman John Harmon said. Forty boats and 80 racers took part in the virtual race last year, he said. Runners were given Global Positioning System trackers to track their whereabouts on the river to ensure they paddled the entire 70-mile course, he said.
Harmon said the festival was condensed to three days this year for several reasons. He said participants in the 70-mile race, which was previously held on Memorial Day on Monday, had requested that their race be moved to Sunday, so they would have more travel time to get home over the weekend. -end of vacation. “More than half of the runners are from out of state and from Canada,” he said. “They said it was difficult to run and go home the same day.”
Another reason the group decided to shorten it by one day was the lack of volunteers. “It has become so difficult to find volunteers, so we are cutting back,” he said.
Harmon said he started volunteering on the committee 20 years ago when the volunteers, who had run the regatta for 10 years, said at the time they could no longer do so. “The Bainbridge Chamber of Commerce held a meeting and 40 to 50 residents showed up,” he said. “I followed and volunteered. It’s good that they saved him.”
The chamber is still sponsoring the event. Harmon said he had chaired the committee for 13 years and said his term was coming to an end. “I did my duty. It’s time to hand it over to someone else,” he said.
The regatta attracts more than 1,000 canoe racers and many other spectators to the area, according to a press release. “It’s so good for the local economy,” Harmon said. “It brings people from all over the United States and Canada to the area.”
The 70-mile race is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing, according to the statement. The other two sections run along the AuSable River in northern Michigan and along the Saint-Maurice River in Quebec. The race will start at Brookwood Point at 6000 State Highway 80, two miles north of Cooperstown, according to the release. People can see the runners along the Susquehanna River in public parks and public fishing spots.
Harmon said fewer young people are participating in the sport and the average age of marathon runners is over 40. However, Friday night’s highlight is the Generation Gap race where pro riders and youngsters go head-to-head in a race from Sidney to Bainbridge, he mentioned.
Another Friday feature is the fifth annual Taste of Regatta, sponsored by Pine Ridge Grocery, according to the release. Many local wineries, breweries, restaurants and food trucks will showcase their wares. At 6 p.m., local singers Judy Pitel, Madison Nack and Olivia Hawkins will take the stage, followed by Elvis Presley tribute artist Aric McKown.
Saturday is children’s day, with a clown making balloon animals, magician and puppet shows and a bicycle raffle at 6 p.m., where a boy’s bike and a girl’s bike will be given away, he said. he declares. New this year is a $25 wristband to ride the rides, put on by Main Event Amusements of Syracuse, all day, Harmon said. “It’s for the whole day, not two shifts like in previous years,” he said.
Also on Saturday, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Harmon will be inducted along with Mike Fremont, Andy Triebold, Bob Vincent, John Young and Ed Hromada.
“It’s kind of overwhelming,” Harmon said of his induction.
Dan Elwood’s annual 5k run and Tracy Richmond Banks 1-mile walk for Hospice will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, sponsored by the Bainbridge-Guilford Class of 1980, according to the release. Additionally, the General Clinton Clash Wrestling Tournament, in memory of Gary Seymour, will begin at 9 a.m. This year, the event will take entries on the day of the event, with registration starting at 8 a.m. Also Saturday, the Chair Auction at 5:00 p.m. Artists from the Jericho Arts Council decorated Adirondack chairs made from canoe paddles. Starting at 6 p.m. there will be live music from Nate Gross and the Beadle Brothers.
In addition to the 70-mile race, there will be a music festival on Sunday starting at 1 p.m., Harmon said. Sundown, Woodshed Profits and Wreckless Marci will perform, according to the release.
Fireworks will be set off Saturday and Sunday evening, according to the statement. There will also be food as well as a large craft and flea market which will be open all weekend.
Admission to the park is $10 per carload on Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the Friday parking lot is free, courtesy of the Sidney Federal Credit Union.
Vicky Klukkert, editor, can be reached at [email protected] or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.