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Rock the Locks Goes On, Despite The Rainy Start

By Nick Wojton, Contributing Writer
OSWEGO, NY – Oswego weather has been known as somewhat of a loose cannon and unpredictable. But, Mother Nature wasn’t able to keep the kayaks out of the water at the “Rock the Lock” Oswego Paddlefest this weekend.

But it took more than just a little rainy weather to sink Paddlefest.

Kayakers paddle by Lock 7 in the Oswego River on Saturday afternoon during the “Rock the Lock” festival.
Kayakers paddle by Lock 7 in the Oswego River on Saturday afternoon during the “Rock the Lock” festival.

Mother Nature didn’t just make an appearance days prior to the event though.

Paddlers were set to launch from Wright’s Landing at noon and were greeted with a heavy rainfall all morning.

That didn’t scare off kayakers though.

Seventy-five paddlers braved the elements.

Among the group of paddlers were Brent and Penny Hays, who drove from Erie, Pa., for the event.

Penny is originally from Oswego.

The Hays said that even with the rough rainfall earlier in the day, the water remain calm and the kayaking was enjoyable.

“The water was nice and smooth,” Brett said. “It was a neat experience doing the locks, watching the water rise and fall.”

“The water was actually warm. The rain was the cold part,” Penny added.

The event was held to benefit the Oswego YMCA Strong Kids campaign and Oswego Harborfest, and last-minute changes in the weather caused some quick changes for kayakers.

Originally, the Paddlefest was scheduled to begin at Riverview Park in Minetto at 10 a.m. and finish at Lock 8 in the Oswego River. Instead, paddlers met at Wright’s Landing and kayaked up towards Lock 7, where a small festival with several food and drink stations and live music was being held for paddlers and those who came to watch.

Activities for kids, such as a bounce house, were also at the festival.

The changes were due to the recent weather trends causing problems in the area waters.

“Due to flood warnings, debris in the river and strong currents from recent storms, we decided to move the even to the Oswego Harbor,” said Jackie Sheffield , associate director of the Oswego YMCA.

Paddlers who signed up for this year’s event will receive a discount in their 2014 registration by 50 percent due to the course change.

A Perception Prodigy 12 kayak valued at $700 was also raffled off for the benefits.

Despite the event beginning with poor weather, Paddlefest ended under a blue sky with plenty of sunshine for those who stuck through until the end.

Local paddler and photographer Dick Drosse shared the following images: