May 31, 2019 11:16 PM
FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The 2019 Fairport Canal Days kicked off on Friday in the Village of Fairport.
The event normally brings more than 100,000 people to the area. This year, it's business as usual but next year, there's going to be a major issue. The lift bridge which connects the north and south ends of the Village of Fairport is in need of repair.
The NYS Department of Transportation had plans to shut it down earlier this year but decided to hold off until after the summer season in Fairport to ensure the construction didn't impact the festival season two years in a row.
Festival organizers typically use all of Main Street through the village for the mile-plus long event but the lift bridge is right in the middle of the route.
This year, folks only have to wait to get over it, if there's a large boat underneath it. But next year, it'll be closed down altogether.
Event organizers say, they're still working on a plan for that.
"Our options are fairly limited in how we can re-route the festival, so the solution is pretty obvious to anyone who knows Fairport, how we'll get around it because of the scope and scale as it is. Beyond general discussions, we have not gone into the specifics of it but fear not, Fairport will make it happen," says Scott Winner.
The route may not look exactly the same but Winner says festival-goers won't be disappointed and neither will those who rely on Canal Days for business.
"What we want to make sure is that we do execute a good show in 2020 so that we don't potentially lose a vender because sometimes if you shut down a show for a year, the vendor goes to another show and decides, I'll stay with that one. We don't want that to happen," he says.
Elizabeth Burdick doesn't want that to happen either. She owns The Ruby Buttercup boutique along Main Street in Fairport.
"It's a little bit of everything from baby to home decor to, we even have maple syrup," she explains.
This is her first Canal Days.
"It's a big challenge for me, so we'll see how we do... get our name out there and see how it goes," she says.
Burdick says she's hopeful there will be a plan in place early to address next year's bridge issue.
"The people that put it on, they advertise enough, that they will show people the alternate ways to work around it," she says.
The NYS DOT actually adjusted its plans in Fairport after public meetings where community and business owners expressed concerns not just about canal days but the summer tourism season.
The lift bridge repair project will begin in September of this year and is scheduled to be complete in November of 2020.
Updated: May 31, 2019 11:16 PM
Created: May 31, 2019 09:53 PM
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