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Lynchburg annual James River Batteau Festival, Launch Fest this weekend

June 15 people will launch batteau boats for 8-day journey to Richmond

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg is taking it back to the early 1800s.

Saturday, June 15, is the annual James River Batteau Festival and Launch Fest.

Several groups will launch their batteau boats from downtown and make an eight-day journey to Richmond.

To help spread the word, on Wednesday, senior citizens took a tour on the James River in the organization's new batteau boat, with a motor giving it a more modern feel.

"People can walk down the trail, past vendors along the way, listen to some live music and check out the boats, talk to the crewmen, the captains. The official launch will be at 11. We'll sound the cannon, and the boats will take off down the river on their journey," said Megan Heatwole, a volunteer with the James River Batteu Festival.

The activities start on Friday and include:

- James River Association (JRA) free batteau rides from 5 to 7 p.m. at Riveredge Park.
- Square Dance from 7 to 9 p.m. at Riverfront Park through Lynchburg Parks & Recreation.
Tickets are $5 in advance  and $8 at the door.

Saturday is the James River Batteau Festival launch fest. It's free to the public at Percival's Island and includes:

-  9 a.m. - Yoga in the Park 
-  10 a.m. to 12 p.m. - Vendors and music 
-  11 a.m. - Batteau launch