The Erie Canal was built in the early 1800s as a water route from Manhattan and the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Today, the Canal is still used for commercial use. It is also a sight for sore eyes - particularly during the summer months when the weather is just right. This year marks 200 years since ground was broken to build the Erie Canal, and we will honor her birthday as such! Here are happenings and places you don’t want to miss along the beautiful waterway this season.
Get festive on the new Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Bridge where their June festival celebrates the Erie Canal above its shining waterway. Carry your party into the night with fireworks at Riverlink Park And with fireworks at Riverlink Park, you’ll enjoy this waterfront party into the night. June 9; Amsterdam
Head to the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site where canal-themed events and tasty barbeque can be enjoyed all day long near the scenic Mohawk River. Check out remnants of the original Erie Canal, the enlarged canal, the configuration of the Barge Canal and more! June 10; Fort Hunter
Seneca Falls Canal Fest
This festival celebrating the Erie Canal takes place in the town of Seneca Falls the weekend of July 7 and comes complete with fireworks, an aquacade, a duck race, rides, music and more. Plus, The Corning Museum of Glass will bring its GlassBarge, a floating performance venue featuring Hot Glass Demos, to this year’s Canal Fest. Bring the whole family to join in on the commemoration. July 7-9; Seneca Falls
Flight of Five
Join the town of Lockport in an Erie Canal Bicentennial celebration on July 8. Start the day with the Lockport Community Farmer’s Market and then enjoy an afternoon of arts and music. Fireworks will go off at 9:30 pm at the Locks. July 8; Lockport
Cycle the Erie Canal - 19th Annual Bike Tour
Big into biking? Join other riders from around the world in cycling along the influential human-built waterway to commemorate her grandiose beauty and servitude to the Great Empire State. The ride runs from July 9 through July 16. Start in Buffalo and end in Albany! July 9-16; Buffalo through Albany
A week-long navigational celebration along the Erie Canal, this special event will have a core group of canal boats set out from Seneca Falls and travel to Rochester, NY. Honoring the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York State, VoteTilla will conclude with a parade and celebration at the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. July 16 - 22; Seneca Falls and Rochester
Ceremonial Erie Canal Groundbreaking & Celebration
The “first dig” of the groundbreaking for the construction of the Erie Canal will be re-enacted at this celebratory event in Rome on July 22. Join locals and foreigners alike and dig into the rich New York State history. July 22; Rome
More fun along the Canal
Erie Canal Brewing Company
The Erie Canal Brewing Company in Canastota uses 100% local ingredients to highlight the history of hops on the Erie Canal. Make sure to try the brewery’s signature beer while you’re there, the Muleskinner Pale Ale, and cheers to the historical New York State greatness.
Canalside is your destination for all things fun and cultural in downtown Buffalo. Located on the shore of Lake Erie, Canalside offers over a thousand activities, including cultural events, festivals, concerts and more. There’s a little fun for everyone! Canalside is also a Path Through History attraction.
Erie Canal Museum
This museum in Syracuse is housed in the 1850 National Register Weighlock Building, the only structure of its kind in the world. Step aboard a full-size canal boat, enjoy hands on exhibits and more. This place is a one-stop shop for kids and adults alike.
Erie Canal Discovery Center
This multi-media interactive museum in Lockport will take you back in time to the the early days of the Erie Canal. Visiting this place is akin to metaphorically looking through the Canal’s baby photos. Displays let museum-goers try their hand at moving a boat through locks, hear from people who worked on the canal and built Lockport, explore the task of cutting through bedrock and test their knowledge of the Canal.