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Get ready to witness history with the 39th Annual James River Batteau Festival

Hundreds of people are heading to James River in Lynchburg on Saturday, June 15 to see more than a dozen boats set sail at the 39th Annual James River Batteau Festival that kicks off at 9 a.m.

The event, which is hosted by Lynchburg Parks and Recreation, is teaming up with the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society this year.

People build the batteau boats or wooden boats, and then ride them across the James River to Maiden’s Landing, which is just outside Richmond.

“Anytime I can get out on the river is a good time, but specifically the festival there is a lot of camaraderie. A lot of teamwork and a lot of community,” said Dan Tucker, with the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society.

The voyage takes them about eight days.

Event organizers said that the wooden boats represent history. They were used in the 1700s and 1800s to transport tobacco up and down the James River to Maiden’s Landing.

There will be 13 batteaus this year that people built. Lynchburg Parks and Recreation said if you helped build one of the boats, you can ride on them for the eight-day journey.

However, if you didn’t, you can still bring your boat out to ride, such as kayaks, plastic boat and canoes.

There’s also plenty for families to do on Saturday.

“We’re going to be celebrating the launch with educators. We’re gonna have some coffee. We’re gonna have some ice cream out there. There’s gonna be some giveaways, and then at 11 a.m., they’re going to launch the boats on their voyage all the way down to Richmond,” said Community Recreation Supervisor Hannah Rathje with Lynchburg Parks and Recreation.

Source: WSLS News 10

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