A sure sign of summer is the return of the Colonial Belle in Fairport.
The largest tour boat operating on the Erie Canal returned to the village this week. Village Mayor Julie Domaratz said the Colonial Belle is scheduled to have its first public cruise of the season on July 4.
“Historically, both residents and visitors alike are used to seeing the Colonial Belle along the canal in the village of Fairport,” Domaratz said. “And it's become a part of the scenery and what you get used to having every day in the canal during the summertime."
Domaratz said there were concerns earlier that the canal would not open at all this year, as nonessential construction and maintenance were suspended by the pandemic. But several sections of the waterway reopened in June.
Due to the ongoing health crisis, the Colonial Belle will carry 70 passengers for now, less than half the maximum capacity.
Meanwhile, Domaratz said residents are looking forward to a busy summer, but at the same time remain vigilant in the fight against the new coronavirus.
“We have to do our part to maintain social distancing and mask wearing. It's our new normal. The new normal is a bustling socially distanced village of Fairport," she said.
Domaratz said businesses in the village are reopening, and people have been using the canal trail all through the pandemic.