The Chemung River not only provides Elmira with a picturesque backdrop, but it is also a great resource for recreational activities. However, some say not nearly enough people are taking advantage of the waterway. Our Bill Mich tells about an event that took place Saturday with the goal of getting more people out on the water.
ELMIRA, N.Y. -- It was a sight to see as dozens of canoes and kayaks came paddling down the Chemung River to the Grover Street Boat Launch.
"It's just one of the assets that the area has. So get out and use it. But know what you are doing I guess is the big thing," said Beth Farr, the Executive Director of the Near Westside Neighborhood Association.
To try and get people out and using the river, the Near Westside Neighborhood Association hosted the 8th Annual River Fest on Saturday. Bringing people down to the water and opening them up to new experiences would hopefully bring some interest to more water based activities. The festival also provided people with the chance to learn some basic safety measures.
"Wear your personal flotation device. That is our primary objective being here is to stress that safety on the water so we don't have to come over and try and find you under the water," said James Wainwright of the Southport Volunteer Fire Department.
It allowed people interested in the water to get a close up and hands on look at what they are sharing the river with.
"It's exciting when someone sees something new and it is like an "Ahh" moment, is what I call it. And we see things and we learn constantly. I'm learning things when I come down here," aid Richard Hurley, the Director of Finer Lakes Learning.
River Fest has numerous local sponsors that help put on the event because they understand how much of an asset the Chemung River is to the area. Getting local residents to share that appreciation is the ultimate goal. And if someone left the festival with the plan of buying a canoe of their own, that would be icing on the cake.