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Scottsville Batteau Festival Brings History to Life

By: Ruth Morton Email
By: Ruth Morton Email

June 19, 2013

Scottsville's 28th annual Batteau Festival took place Wednesday.

Batteaux, or flat bottomed boats, were once used to carry tobacco, grain, and other goods on the James River.

Batteau replicas docked in Scottsville Tuesday.

The batteaux encountered rain all day Tuesday. One boat captain says the rain and high water hasn't hurt the voyage.

"I'd rather be out here in the rain and have high water and easy floating than be out here when there's no water and and it's 110 degrees and sweating trying to drag the boat over the rocks," said Randy Waycaster, Captain of the "Slate River" batteau. "It wasn't bad. Could have been at work today."

Batteaux crew spoke of the camraderie among themselves.

"You meet all these new people. People you never knew. You get everybody from different walks of life. We all do the same thing to come here and have a good time. It's a real good crowd," said Waycaster.

The Batteau Festival celebrated their visit. People could visit the batteaux and ask the crew questions. In town, people could get food and hear and dance to live music.

"This town would not be here were it not for the James River," said Pat Calvert, Upper James Riverkeeper with the James River Association. "It's a way of showing honor to the town and to the river and to the batteaux and to the history and the heritage of this beautiful river."

The batteaux launched on Saturday in Lynchburg. This Saturday, they'll finish their journey in Richmond.

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