Many of the 300-plus events in the1000 Islands (which encompasses communities in both Southeastern Ontario and Northern New York State) focus on the water including boat shows and races, fishing tournaments, even a whitewater paddling festival.
Two major events to look for this August are the Antique Boat Show in Clayton, New York, from August 5 to 7 and Bill Johnston’s Pirates Days from August 12 to 21 in Alexandria Bay, New York.
Clayton’s Antique Boat Show (annually, first weekend in August) is America’s oldest antique boat show and takes place every year at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton. Hundreds of classic wooden boats are on display in the water and throughout the Boat Museum’s riverfront campus. A classic boat parade on the St. Lawrence River and an antique boat auction highlight the event that draws thousands of classic boat and history enthusiasts to the area.
For 10 days each summer, the riverfront town of Alexandria Bay in the 1000 Islands celebrates Bill Johnston’s Pirates Days (annually, second Saturday in August to third Sunday). The event is rooted in the region’s maritime history of privateers and pirates waging cross-border battles with each other.
The event is named for the Bay’s most famous pirate, Bill Johnston, who captured and plundered the British steamship Sir Robert Peel in 1838. Pirates Days kicks-off on the second Saturday of August, when pirates attack the village from real sailing ships in front of hundreds of onlookers at the community waterfront. Musket fire and cannon smoke fill the air as re-enactors fight to defend the community. After winning the water and land battle, the invaders take over and everyone becomes a pirate! Nine days of revelry including music, dances, sword-battle re-enactments, children’s treasure hunts and parades follow. A second invasion is staged on the third Saturday.
For more information on the 1000 Islands visit www.visit1000islands.com/visitorinfo/