Batteaux Prepare for Journey to Richmond

Reporter: Lauren Compton l Videographer: Jemon Haskins

Lynchburg, VA- About 20 boaters are preparing for a historic trip down the James River. It is all for the 27th annual James River Batteau Festival.

It takes a lot to get the boats ready for the trip to Richmond. It takes a lot patience and attention to detail. But, the extra work pays off when these boats make their way down the James for another adventure.

Down on the river, boaters are getting ready and putting the final touches on their batteaux.

"Before you go out on the river you got to bring everything out and get it ready," said Terry Zimmerman, a Batteau Festival participant.

That means unloading and gearing up supplies. And, a lot is needed for an eight day trip down the James to the state Capitol.

"We have canopies, life preservers, tools, first aid kits, throw bags, everything you need to be on the river," said Zimmerman.

Their journey is a re-creation of what batteaux did during the 1700's using flat-bed boats to transport goods to Richmond. It's a journey many look forward to every year.

"It's more fun than chocolate milk. I'm telling you," said Zimmerman.

"When you're sitting around with a fire going on your boat maybe playing a little bit of music that's a lot of fun too," said Brian Roberts, a Batteau Festival participant.

For the first time in five years, the batteaux will get a large sendoff thanks to Lynch's Landing

"I don't think anywhere else in the world you can find this type of celebration so it was really important for us to recognize it, and bring more people down here to experience it," said Anna Benson, executive director of Lynch's Landing.

They will use the parking lot in front of Percival's Island to host their day long James River Batteau Festival.

"We'll have entertainment going on all day. We have the Celtibillies which is an old-time blue grass band. We'll have the McKenzie's which is a local strolling bluegrass group. We'll have a story teller, a Monacan youth dance and lots of other fun entertainment," said Benson.

If you want to come down, the festival starts at 9 a.m., and the batteaus launch at 11 a.m. Don't worry about parking. The trolley will be running Saturday for free. They will pick you up at several locations downtown and bring you down to all the fun.

Get more information on the Batteau Festival.