Oswego, N.Y. - For close to a century, the Oswego branch of the Erie Canal ran adjacent to the Oswego River and was an important part of the historic waterway. Only remnants of that canal exist today. Paddlers will have a chance to glimpse sections of the old canal Saturday, June 21, in the Oswego "Rock the Locks" Paddlefest.

Paddlefest gives paddlers of all ages and abilities the opportunity to paddle sections of the river and through the locks as a group, followed by food and music at the Lock 7 park in Oswego.

Paddlers can choose to do the full 10.3-mile course from Fulton to Oswego, or a shorter 4.2-mile course from Minetto to Oswego. A portion of the money raised will be donated to the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau for activities that support youth and families in Oswego County.

Following the paddle, local musician John McConnell opens the "Rock the Locks" set at noon with a solo act, with friends Gary Carpentier and John Samson joining him from 1 to 3 p.m. Dos Locos follows on stage from 3 to 5 p.m.

A variety of food vendors will be on hand, with children's games and other activities running until 5 p.m. The winning entries of the children's Paddlefest coloring contest, sponsored by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, will be displayed. First place entries in three age groups will receive a gift pack of a fishing pole and other prizes.

Pre-registration for Paddlefest is $25 for canoes and $20 for kayaks, and includes a $5 meal voucher for food from a Rock the Locks vendor. Additional meal tickets may be purchased at the event.

Parking and sign-in begin at 7 a.m. in Fulton, with an 8 a.m. launch from Indian Point Landing just north of the city on Route 481.

From Minetto, paddlers will launch at 10 a.m. from Riverview Park on Route 48. Sign-in begins at 9 a.m. The group will continue to Lock 8 in Oswego, traveling through four locks of the historic Oswego River Canal along the way.

A free shuttle bus will take paddlers from Lock 8 back to Minetto and Fulton, where they can pick up their vehicles when the event is over. River Run Kayaks will transport kayaks and canoes back to Minetto and Fulton for $5 per boat.

Single and tandem kayak rentals are available at a discounted rate for Paddlefest through River Run Kayaks. Reservations for rentals must be made in advance. For details contact Rich Walberger at 315-593-9895, email Riverrunkayak@gmail.com.

Paddlers may pre-register online at www.ezracereg.com or register beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 21 at Indian Point Landing in Fulton, and 8 a.m. at Riverview Park in Minetto. Registration on June 21 will be $30 per canoe and $25 per kayak.

Rock the Locks Paddlefest is sponsored by Pinnacle Builders USA Inc., River Run Kayaks, Cre8 Studios, Murdock's Bicycles and Sports, Chase Enterprises, the Oswego County Sunset Group, La Parilla, the Fitzgibbons Agency, Rombough Electric, Beacon Hotel, Oswego County Federal Credit Union, Shanley Law Office, Debbie Anderson, Reflections Hair Salon, Fulton Savings Bank, the Oswego Firefighters Benevolent Association, with support from the American Canoe Association, NYS Canal Corporation, ARC of Oswego County, Minetto Volunteer Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Oswego County Sheriff's Office, Oswego County Yakkers, Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Oswego County Emergency Management Office, and Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

For more information visit www.oswegopaddlefest.com

For accommodations and visitor information in Oswego County, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com.


Photo caption

Kayakers stop in front of the old Brosemer beer cave near Minetto, where beer from the nearby Brosemer brewery was stored and cooled on the Oswego River. Paddlers will pass by the old cavern as they travel the Oswego River Canal during the June 21 Paddlefest. (Photo by Dick Drosse.)