State Fair Boat-building, and local naval history

A replica of a Revolutionary Gunboat has been built at the Fair's Waterways of War exhibit.  You can also learn ow to build your own kayak or other personal boat during this year's Fair (picture: Photojournalist Andy Wolf)

The New York Experience, a new exhibit area on the west side of the NY State Fair, features modern boat building, and a look at NY Naval History.

On the boat-building side, SUNY Oswego Professor Rich Bush, who teaches hands-on technology, is building a kayak, one of three 'personal' boats that will be completed during the Fair, and floated on the pond behind the exhibit. He says he wants to teach people that building is not hard, and that having a way to navigate NY waterways is a great incentive for building your own. The Kayak, 13 feet long and capable of carrying up to 225 pounds, should be done by Saturday.

In the tent next door, they finished assembling a replica of a 1776 gunship on Wednesday afternoon. The original 'Philadelphia' is in the Smithsonian, this replica is one sixth of the 54 foot long boat's size, but still very detailed. More intriguing, her sister ship, 'Spitfire,' has also been located, also sunk in Lake Champlain. She was discovered 20 years ago, in good condition, with the mast still on, and plans are being discussed to raise her, as well.

The tent with the Philadelphia replica holds other early American naval memorabilia and is lined with posters that explain why this area's naval history was so critical to our country's survival.
One explains the phrase 'don't give up the ship,' still the battlecry of our modern Navy. It came from the War of 1812 and gained original fame in the Battle of Lake Erie.

>The boat-building demonstrations are at 11am, 1 & 3pm daily through the Fair's run. They last 45 minutes. The Waterways of War exhibit is near the Cow Birthing Center, on the east end of the pond that extends to the old racing stable barns.

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