Cole Johnson SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – There are not a lot of ways to bring a ton of excitement to a small community. Yet, when hundreds of people used to line the streets of Moravia every year to see bathtub races, some would tell you differently.
That was until someone was struck and injured by a tub and the village had to cancel the event. Two decades later, people of Moravia are looking to create a new narrative and a new beginning.
“We try and promote the area to drive commerce to the local business and we were thinking Fillmore Days would be a wonderful way of doing that,” said Joshua Marnell, the Chairman of Friends of Fillmore.
The Friends of Fillmore is a non-profit group that aims to preserve Fillmore Glen State Park and increase its attendance through events. The big event to jump start the restoration of Fillmore Days now lies in the hands of one of Moravia’s oldest traditions.
The bathtub races were something that Marnell hinted to his wife when they moved into the village four years ago.
“I told her ‘we’re going to bring back the bathtub races,’” Marnell said. “That always drove community spirit and community pride and it’s something people talk about. Something fun.”
The race used to take place right on Main Street, which caused some issues regarding the blockage of a state road. Now, the race will take place right inside Fillmore Glen State Park. It’s a course that runs 1,200 feet long, according to Marnell.
The course won’t be the only attraction though. The park will be filled with 43 local vendors to help bring in more people, outside of the races.
“We’re trying to make it an all-inclusive community event that will be beneficial for everybody,” said Marnell.
And according to Marnell, there is no better way to get people excited again. He even remembers the event as a kid and the myth that brought the idea to life in the beginning.
“It all started with a myth that Millard Fillmore put the bathtub in the White House, and Moravians took it from there and decided to add their own twist to it and push tubs in remembrance,” said Marnell. “It was never meant to be a serious race…just puts smiles on people’s faces.”
The event starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday. For more information, you can visit the Friends of Fillmore Glen State Park Facebook page.