Champ Day is drawing near, and once again the residents of Port Henry are gearing up to celebrate their hometown lake monster, Champ. This annual bash at the “Home of Champ” keeps getting bigger, and this year is shaping up to be some fun doin’s.
Champ Day is Sunday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a special kickoff to Champ Day - “The Return of Champ Day Movie Night!” - which will take place on Wednesday, July 12, at 7 p.m. Come by the Moriah Chamber of Commerce office, on Main Street in Port Henry, and join host Andy McDougall as he projects a monster movie in honor of Champ. This year’s selection will be “GORGO,” a scary entry into the sea monster genre from 1961!
The event is organized by the Moriah Chamber of Commerce, and few people realize the hard work that these dedicated individuals put into making sure the festivities are a success.
Champ Day is a chance to relax and unwind, whether you are enjoying a stroll through all of the vendors or just taking in the beautiful views of Lake Champlain.
You never know what you will find among the goods offered for sale. If you keep your eyes open you just might spot that certain elusive something you’ve been searching for.
By the way, if you're nearby in the hamlet of Port Henry, and are not able to get down to the pier, then you should know there is a shuttle bus that will be providing free transportation to the public. Hop on and come on down! Heck, we’ll even bring you back.
One of the big draws at Champ Day is the Sherman Free Library’s annual used book sale. Every year I say I have too many books, but every year I manage to come home with a bag full of them. There’s always something you can’t live without at the book sale.
The cardboard boat race is my favorite event. Kids enter to compete against each other — and the lake! Entrants are supplied with an allotted amount of cardboard and duct tape, and they hurry to construct their vessels before time runs out. Then it’s off to the water’s edge and at the shout of “GO!” they navigate their boats as best they can to the finish line.
As your boat sinks or falls apart you are allowed to paddle on toward the goal, as long as you are still afloat. Some truly seaworthy crafts are constructed by these engineers of tomorrow, as you can see by the picture above. The race is, of course, all in good fun, and while not everyone will cross the finish line, every child who participates is a winner in my book!
After the excitement of the cardboard races, those looking to enjoy a more relaxing pace during your visit to Champ Day will appreciate watching the sailboat races on the lake. The majestic beauty of the boats under sail is a memory you will treasure long after the day is done.
While the grownups are busy perusing everything the vendors have on display, there are plenty of games planned for the children. Creative Bloc Paint and Sip will be on hand to do a special painting session for children. When the workshop is over, kids will leave with a unique keepsake they painted on their own!
Be sure to stop by the Historical Society’s tent to discover that Port Henry’s heritage goes far beyond being the home of Champ!
Once you’ve made the rounds of the vendors, you’ll want to check out the antique boat rendezvous at the Port Henry Marina. The Lake Champlain Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society draws an impressive number of vintage beauties from all eras. There is sure to be something to thrill the teakwood and spar varnish lover in you.
Perennial favorite, Penelope the Clown, will be on hand to do face painting and animal balloons, and just enliven the festivities in general.
What’s that sound coming from the pier? Well, that would be the music the live band is playing! Live entertainment has been a big part of Champ Day in years past and this year will be no exception. Popular musician Dan Rabideau and his band will be doing a set or two for our listening pleasure.
Plan to spend the whole day at Champ Day, as there are many activities slated and much to see and do. When you’ve played until you are pooped, you’ll know it is time to go home. After all, playing is hard work.
I will suggest that as you prepare to head back toward your campsite or cabin, you cast your eyes toward the lake one last time. After all, you never know what you might see there!
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