Batteau Festival Brings a Blast to the Past to Lynchburg - - ABC13

Batteau Festival Brings a Blast to the Past to Lynchburg


Reporter: Parker Slaybaugh

Lynchburg, VA - More than 1,000 people attended Lynchburg's Batteau Festival.

The festival celebrates the launch of crews, who over the next week will navigate their way to Richmond. The celebration has been a long standing tradition for the City of Lynchburg.  It dates all the way back to Lynchburg's bicentennial, 27 years ago. The means of transportation used on this more than a 120 mile trip to Richmond dates back to the seventeen hundreds.

While these boats were built using traditional methods, the trip is still no easy task.

"Back in the late seventeen and eighteen hundreds when they use to do this, when these were the tractor trailers of their time these took goods, and you got to get your goods to Richmond," said Jeff Taylor, a Batteau Boat Builder.

Taylor has built four Batteau's. One of which he says is floating on its way to Richmond.

Every Saturday before Father's Day men, women, and their dogs make the trip to Richmond aboard a living piece of history.

"This is a way to show our kids, and our grand kids living history at its finest, and the camaraderie is what brings them back every year," said Taylor.

"I don't think there is anywhere else in the world you can see this type of unique thing these are forty foot flat bottom boats that are hand made, people in costume, taking them down the river and its really unique to Lynchburg, and I think people want to embrace that and want to celebrate it," said Anna Bentson, Executive Director of Lynch's Landing.

Anna Bentson helped organize the festivities, and for the first time in five years the Batteau Launch was celebrated with a full day of concerts and activities. Activities that in the hustle and bustle of modern day Lynchburg are a chance to pause and celebrate what life was like, way back when.

Participants say water levels are a bit higher this year, which can make things tricky due to the water current making the boats harder to stop.  As one person said these boats just don't have brakes. 

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