MACEDON — Watercraft, craft beverages and food come together in this Wayne County town Friday and Saturday during the first Erie Armada at the Canal Park at Lock 30.
The Erie Armada was one of two winners out of a field 145 entries from seven countries in the $2.5 million Reimagine the Canals competition. It was sponsored by the New York Power Authority and the state Canal Corp.
The competition “sought the best ideas to enable the canal system to become an engine for economic growth and world-class tourism.” Erie Armada was awarded $500,000, said Steven Gosset, a spokesperson for the Power Authority.
“The funding is for the first year, with the expectation that it become self-sustaining in future years,” he said.
“I’m confident the Erie Armada will be a great example of how the Erie Canal can be reimagined for the 21st century,” Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton said. “Something old really can be new again.”
Rory McEvoy, president of Erie Armada Inc., said the Macedon location made sense for a number of reasons.
“We canvassed the entire Erie Canal and settled on Macedon Canal Park due to its contiguous land surrounded on three sides by water, the big and beautiful Lock 30, a safe boat slip into the bypass canal, and beautiful greenery including the Butterfly Trail,” he said.
Macedon Town Supervisor Sandy Pagano is thrilled Armada organizers chose Macedon.
“Since Macedon’s Canal Park is on a peninsula, it is easy to access the park under a controlled environment,” she said. “I am very pleased with the Canal Corp. for supporting this venue in the town of Macedon. The support for this event by the Canal Corp., partnering with Macedon and the promoter for this inaugural event is remarkable. We plan on this becoming a highly anticipated event for Macedon in years to come.”
Organizers are promising an “immersive experience that combines the exceptional craft brewing of New York and unique food experiences with new recreational activities on the iconic Erie Canal.”
“The Erie Canal is a place to have fun on and off the water and that’s what the Armada is all about,” McEvoy said. “There’s no better place to hold this event than at one of the canal’s historic locks.”
Brewers from around the state are teaming up to make four special beer releases at the event:
• Brooklyn Brewery and Prison City of Auburn.
• LIC Beer Project of Queens and Thin Man Brewery of Buffalo.
• Barrier Brewing Co. of Long Island and Rare Form Brewing Co. of Troy.
• Nine Pin Cider Works of Albany and Rogers’ Cideryard of Johnstown.
Additionally, organizers said Canandaigua-based NY Kitchen and Taste NY will have demonstrations and free tastings from leading chefs to complement a number of food trucks from the Finger Lakes and the Rochester area.
Food and drink are just two components of Erie Armada, McEvoy reminded. It’s also about celebrating the canal. As part of the event, the Armada is hosting paddling competitions with boats “that will make up for with creativity what they lack in frills.”
For guests, kayaks will be available to take on a 2-mile orienteering trail on the canal at Lock 30, while the Colonial Belle, a popular canal tour boat based in Fairport, is providing canal rides.