Amsterdam YMCA’s Barge Bash to kick off Canal Fest

Nancy Carr, who is finishing her first year as the executive director of the Greater Amsterdam Famil

Nancy Carr, who is finishing her first year as the executive director of the Greater Amsterdam Family YMCA, is excited about hosting her first public event.

The YMCA is organizing this year’s Barge Bash, the annual kickoff to the Lock 7-12 CanalFest.

Carr said she is expecting about 150 people to attend this year’s event, which is being held Thursday at Riverstone Manor, a banquet facility in Glenville along the Mohawk River.

“I’ve been here for a year in September and it’s been challenging to get out into the public, so I’m excited to meet and greet some folks,” she said.

Carr said she also can’t wait to push people onto the dance floor for the song “YMCA.”

The Barge Bash, like CanalFest, is a joint event with the Montgomery and Schenectady county chambers of commerce.

Gail Kehn, vice president of visitor services for the Schenectady County chamber, said the Barge Bash started four years ago as a way to thank the sponsors of CanalFest.

Kehn said the two chambers organized the event the first year but it became too difficult to arrange the party and organize the CanalFest activities, so it was decided that the proceeds from the event would benefit a nonprofit or charity, which in turn would be responsible for organizing the party.

The signature sponsor each year gets to pick the charity, Kehn said. For the past two years, Alpin Haus has been the sponsor and has designated the YMCA.

This year’s event will include the music of Party Toons, a buffet-style dinner and a cash bar, a magician doing parlor tricks, a 50/50 raffle and a chance to win a $25 Stewart’s gift card.

All of the proceeds for this year’s event will benefit the Greater Amsterdam Family YMCA.

Last year’s event brought in about $1,000 for the YMCA, which goes toward youth programs such as sports and summer camps.

“We might even be able to buy new basketballs for the kids this year,” she said.

The public is encouraged to attend, but Deborah Auspelmyer, director of the Montgomery County chamber, said the event typically turns into a party for CanalFest sponsors and organizers and volunteers.

“In general, visitors don’t attend these types of events,” Auspelmyer said. “Really, it’s open to the public and anyone is welcome, but typically, it’s people who are involved in CanalFest and business people throughout the community.”

Good weather is not necessary for the Barge Bash, but organizers are praying for sun for the weekend CanalFest activities, which are scheduled this year for Freedom Park in Scotia, the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction and Riverlink Park in Amsterdam.

Auspelmyer said she is looking forward to the entertainment, which she said is always “fabulous” at all of the venues.

“It’s a fun event and a great place to bring family and out-of-town visitors,” she said. “It really is a celebration of everything we have here in our backyard. Little things happen throughout the year and especially in the summer, but to be able to bring the two communities and multiple sites together for entertainment is a really fabulous opportunity.”

Tickets for the Barge Bash are $35 in advance and $38 at the door. Advance tickets can be obtained by calling either chamber or the Amsterdam YMCA.

Categories: Schenectady County

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