A couple of short weeks from now we will be reflecting on where the summer went. Not that summer will officially be over, but once students head back to school options for even mini-vacations and family outings get restricted. An opportunity for a final bash of summer fun is waiting for you and your family in the Town of Moriah over Labor Day Weekend. The Village of Port Henry and Town of Moriah have been celebrating Labor Day for 126 years! This September 5th and 6th they have a lineup of events and activities that will appeal to family members of all ages.
Which Way the Wind
The 1st Annual Port Henry Regatta will begin at 1:00 pm. I admit I know nothing about sailing, but do know that I enjoy watching the “on-the-water ballet” sailboats perform when navigating a course together. I spoke with Dave Koran, manager at the Port Henry Marina to get an idea of what spectators might see, and the best sites for viewing. He recommended what’s known locally as Champ Beach as probably one of the best sites for viewing. This is the beach area in the Village of Port Henry Campground. It's at the end of Dock Lane adjacent to Powerhouse Park, and the starting point of the race. When I asked about the course, or route, the sailboats would travel, he patiently explained that would be based on the winds for the day. Regardless, it will be a triangular course of at least one lap; two laps if they have decent wind I was told. Fourteen sailboats had registered as of August 17th and he anticipated more.
I learned there would be two classes of sailboats participating: J24s and PHRF. I think the J24s are my favorites, because I believe those are the sailboats with the colorful front billowing sails (spinnakers). A colorful collection of spinnakers moving over the water should be a delightful sight.
I had to look up the PHRF to learn that those letters stand for Performance Handicap Racing Fleet. This rating generally applies to the larger sailboats. The PHRF is a handicapping system that allows dissimilar sailboats to race against one another. It serves as sort of a fairness, or balancing, system to cancel out equipment superiority and reflect more of the crew’s sailing skills. Cross your fingers for perfect sailing winds that day. The regatta will be broadcast live on YouTube/Port Henry Regatta.
Into the Woods for Surprise Entertainment
At 4:00 pm you will not want to miss the 10th Annual Mutton Hollow Parade. This creative little parade will be worth the short trip from Lake Champlain and into the wooded hills of Moriah. From the Village of Port Henry head up the hill on Broad Street, keep climbing. After passing the Moriah Central School bear left (it’s actually rather straight) onto Tarbell Hill Road, and do some more climbing. Continue until you reach the stop sign, once there go straight through the intersection onto Windy Hill Road. Mutton Hollow Road will be the second left-hand turn; enter and find a place to park along the road shoulder.
The Mutton Hollow Parade is my favorite parade ever! It is simple, home-town, and heartwarming. I only discovered it about 6 or 7 years ago and now wouldn’t miss it. I understand this tradition began when the neighbors on this rural wooded road decided to hold their own Labor Day celebration parade making use of their pets and livestock, farm equipment, lawn tractors, whatever. The first year I attended something spooked a small herd of goats marching very cooperatively in the parade. The resulting performance was hysterical and had everyone involved in the great goat chase.
Each year the costumes, floats, and parade participants reflect more and more creativity. There may be no uniformed marching bands, but I guarantee there will be no disappointments, plenty of laughs, and abundant entertainment.
Post-Mutton Hollow Parade you will want to head back downhill to the Port Henry Pier to listen to DJ Brian LaMountain while you await the fireworks to be set off from this location at dusk. Raffle tickets are being sold until the drawing on Friday, September 4th when the winning child will help set off the Fireworks Grande Finale via switches on a remote control. The end of the pier is a spectacular site that allows for maximum exposure and reflection over the lake.
On Sunday, September 6th, beginning at 10 am, Church Street in the downtown Village area (across from the market on Main Street) closes to vehicles all day. There you will find Kids’ Games, Craft Vendors, Penelope the Clown, a Dunking Booth, Face Painting, Pony Rides and more fun family activities. Plan your lunch around the Chicken Barbeque which will start serving at 11 am.
At 1 pm the traditional Port Henry Labor Day Parade begins marching down Broad and Main Streets. Champ always makes a guest appearance - Port Henry is his official home after all. In addition, there will be plenty of marching bands, firetrucks, floats, and the usual parade participants. Following the parade enjoy the Norwood Firemen’s Brass Band back at Church Street.
Throughout the entire weekend there are always the options of relaxing on one of Port Henry’s two public beaches, dropping a line in the water while seeking a great catch off the Port Henry Pier, or taking a paddle from one of many options at Bulwagga Bay Campground. Paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats are available for rent. Take the Port Henry Walking Tour to appreciate some of this village’s unique historic architecture and view this community’s fantastic collection of public art, or visit the Iron Center Museum to learn about the Town of Moriah’s fascinating industrial history.
Come Friday evening, or arrive early enough on Saturday to enjoy a famous breakfast at Foote’s Port Henry Diner. Their scrumptious breakfasts and specialty sandwiches are famous region-wide, and of course you will want to enjoy a Michigan hot dog from one of many road side stands while here.
Make your reservations early to camp at one of Port Henry’s two on-the-water campgrounds, or treat yourself to a more luxurious stay at the new Edgemont B&B - a superbly renovated Victorian house ready to cater to your every need.
Top off your summer in Moriah over Labor Day weekend. We’ll plan on seeing you there.