CAPE VINCENT – This year’s Cape Vincent “Day on the River” is planned as a weekend event focused on showcasing local attractions and the benefits of living along the St. Lawrence River. The event, scheduled for Friday through Sunday, will feature free boat rides on the Antique Boat Museum's "Zipper," U.S. Coast Guard presentations, a reptile petting zoo, kids face painting, local nonprofit organization presentations and more.
The Cape Vincent Charity Cup Sailing Regatta and War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration also will take place this weekend.
The Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce has registered with U.S. Sailing and has been officially approved to hold a regatta. Proceeds from this year's regatta will benefit Hospice of Jefferson County. This is not, however, the official annual Hospice Regatta. The entry fee for the sailing regatta, which is open to all classes of boats, is $60.
The regatta weekend will begin with a welcome reception at 6 p.m. Friday on the village green, featuring appetizers and cash bar, and dancing to live jazz music. Cost for the reception is $20 per person. This also will be an opportunity for sailors who have not registered yet to do so. This event is open to the general public.
Race day will begin with late registration at 7 a.m. Saturday and a captain's meeting at 8:15 a.m. on the village green. Charity Cup races are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the open water just off Tibbetts Point Lighthouse, where Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River meet. A reception is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. on the lighthouse grounds, where the public can view the races taking place. Food and beverage will be available for purchase, and there will be live island music. A free shuttle bus will operate on a regular schedule to transport passengers to event locations.
A Jr. Sailing Race also is scheduled to take place near the breakwall in front of Cape Vincent. Races are set to conclude by 4 p.m., with awards ceremony and presentations to begin at 5:30 p.m. under the marquee. This ceremony will be followed by the regatta dinner, set for 7 p.m. at the same location. A buffet dinner will be served as well as cash bar, culminating the evening with dancing to live music. This event also is open to public. Sunday is being reserved as a rain date if needed.
Potential sailors, and anyone interested in registering for either of the receptions, can go to www.capevincent.org/regatta
and download the registration forms or visit the Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce office at 173 N. James St. For more information, call 654-2481.
The showcase of the War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration is a re-enactor encampment, featuring Soldiers from both sides of the war, setting up tents and living the life of an 1812 Soldier. There will be representatives of U.S. and British Soldiers, with the majority of re-enactors hailing from the Ogdensburg-based Forsyth's Rifles. Capt. Benjamin Forsyth and his regiment of riflemen were assigned to protect Cape Vincent from British advancement. The Forsyth regiment will be joined by British infantrymen, local militia and more. The encampment on the village green will be open for viewing to inform the public on the everyday life of the 1812 Soldier, with camp life, weapons displays, surgical tent, drills and more. Re-enactors will perform a battle skirmish recreation, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
History tells us a small detachment of British were observed moving along the shoreline off Cape Vincent. Forsyth's Riflemen tracked their progress and noted them coming ashore in Cape Vincent. The British were raiding gardens and harassing the local population, when they were engaged by Forsyth's men. A skirmish ensued, resulting in three British killed and several taken prisoner. The battle skirmish recreation will follow this timeline of events, with British coming ashore aboard the tall ship La Revenante.
The other highlight of 1812 weekend will be four tall ships: Sloop Owl, La Revenante, The St. Lawrence II and the Lois McClure. La Revenante will arrive Friday and will participate in the battle skirmish at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The St. Lawrence II is scheduled to arrive early Saturday morning. The Lois McClure was scheduled to arrive earlier in the week to provide enough time to prepare for public viewing. An educational vessel out of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, the Lois McClure will present a program to the public.
La Revenante and St. Lawrence II will be docked at the village dock, while the Lois McClure will be docked at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries Station. The vessels will be on display for public viewing with deck tours available.
There will be a lecture series at the Cape Vincent Fire Hall with presenters including renowned Canadian authors Donald and Dianne Graves. Donald Graves’ lecture will be “The River War of 1812,” while Dianne Graves’ lecture will be “Alarm and Apprehension,” which will highlight the roles and experiences of women and civilians along the St. Lawrence River-Lake Ontario corridor during the War of 1812. Richard LaCrosse will present “Uniforms and Gear of the War of 1812.” David Ruch will present “The War of 1812: Songs and Stories from New York and Beyond,” while John Bilow, author of “A War of 1812 Death Register: Whispers in the Dark,” also will speak.
Dr. Doug Pippin will lecture on the ruins of Revolutionary War-era Fort Haldimand, located on Carleton Island in Cape Vincent. Patricia Regan’s lecture will highlight the events and happenings of the War of 1812 that occurred in and around the Settlement of Gravelly Point and the section of what was then the town of Brownville and later became the village of Cape Vincent and the town of Cape Vincent. Dennis McCarthy, a local scuba diver, will present “Marine Mysteries of Carleton Island from the American Revolution to the War of 1812.” The lecture series will continue throughout the day Saturday and into Sunday early afternoon.
In addition to the lecture series, there will be musical performances with the Towpath Volunteer Fife & Drum Corps "Spirit of '76" group. The "Spirit of '76" is a smaller detachment of the Revolutionary War-era fife and drum corps, featuring musicians dressed in powder blue colonial uniforms and tricorn hats. This group will travel around the event grounds, performing periodically throughout the day on Saturday. The Brockville Pipe Band, a bagpipe band from Brockville, Ontario, will perform throughout the day at various venues.
There also will be vendors and displays around the encampment grounds. Participants include 1812-era "sutlers," or period ware vendors, such as blacksmiths, seamstresses, etc. There also will be a display of 1812 and Fort Haldimand-era artifacts in the Cape Vincent Historical Society Museum, located in the original 1812 Soldiers’ barracks. Members of the Oneida Nation will present information and artifacts as well. In addition, there will be authors who will sell, autograph and describe their books, all related to the War of 1812.
Members of the Forsyth Regiment will conduct historical walking tours of the village, high-
lighting buildings of historical significance and telling tales of local 1812 lore beginning at 9 a.m. from the village green performance stage.
On Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. there will be family activities on the village green. Included in the day’s events will be an exhibit called “Reptiles Forever,” featuring a collection of reptiles, insects and amphibians on display. The Antique Boat Museum will offer free rides aboard the “Zipper” between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. from the village dock. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be present with a display and information. The Cape Vincent Dive Club will have an exhibit and will present a demonstration from the village dock.
The Cape Vincent Community Library will have children’s crafts and a book signing by a local children’s book author. There will be games and painting for children and a visit from Miss French Festival 2013, Julia Bashaw.
Sunday’s events include a sunrise church service on the village green performance stage at 7 a.m. The tall ships and encampment are open for public viewing and the Historical Lecture Series will continue with Patricia Regan, Richard LaCrosse and John Bilow presenting at the Cape Vincent Fire Hall. At 12:15 p.m., there will be a battle skirmish re-enactment when British forces attack the village aboard La Revenante.
Sponsors of this event include the Cape Vincent Chamber of Commerce, village of Cape Vincent, town of Cape Vincent, Cape Vincent Historical Society and Cape Vincent Arts Council, as well as volunteers providing their time, services and boats.
A small grant also was received from the New York Council for the Humanities. The Cape Vincent Volunteer Fire Department also will support the event by allowing use of its facility to hold the lecture series.