VoteTilla 2017 Celebrates 100 Years of Women’s Voting and 200 Years of New York’s Erie Canal

Combine the Centennial of women’s voting with the Erie Canal Bicentennial, and you get VoteTilla!  On November 6, 1917, women won the right to vote in New York State, three years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting suffrage to women across the country. The area will mark the celebration in 2017 with VoteTilla – a weeklong navigational celebration – taking place along the Erie Canal from July 16 – 22, 2017. A core group of canal boats will set out from Seneca Falls and travel to Rochester, with a concluding celebration in Rochester that will include a festival, musical performances and more.

New York State Spare Seat Kayak Expedition

Rochester and the Finger Lakes are where the woman’s suffrage movement of the 19th and early 20th century were born. The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House is a historic landmark in Rochester, NY, preserving the legacy of Susan B. Anthony and her life-long struggle for equal rights and voting rights for women. Pay your respects at Susan B. Anthony’s grave site in Rochester’s Mount Hope Cemetery. It has become a rite of passage for visitors to place their “I Voted” stickers on Anthony’s grave on election day. In 2016, an estimated 10,000 visitors passed through the cemetery on election day to pay their respects to Susan B. Anthony.

Susan B. Anthony Gravesite

2017 also marks the start of the celebration of the bicentennial of the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal played an integral role in establishing Rochester as one of America’s first major boomtowns, at one point in time known only as “The Young Lion of the West.” In addition, the Erie Canal transformed NYC into the major shipping port that it still is today. The Greater Rochester region contains the “100 must see miles of the Erie Canal” – areas that best exemplify what a traditional canal-side community has to offer as well as recreational activities both on the water and off. Key events include Fairport Canal Days – a 40+ year old free arts festival taking place June 2 – 4, 2017.

Sam Patch Erie Canal

One of the biggest and most exciting celebrations of the women’s suffrage centennial is VoteTilla, July 16 – 22, 2017. Participants will travel in canal boats from Seneca Falls to Rochester, where VoteTilla Week will conclude with a final celebration at the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, which is spearheading the celebration. Along the way, boats will dock at towns and villages for historic re-enactments, theatrical performances, speeches, music, crafts, food and good fun, co-hosted by local groups and partner organizations such as the Canal Society of New York State, Seward House and the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership.

Susan B. Anthony Museum and HouseErie Canal Pittsford

While in Rochester, visitors can stop by the Central Library of Rochester, which will be honoring the centennial with an exhibit titled “Because of Women Like Her,” a collaboration between a number of partners including local museums and colleges that aims to draw visitors into the history and its contemporary implications.

New York State has established a 14-member Women’s Suffrage Commission, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who will execute a series of programs between 2017 and 2020, which marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment. The new Women’s Suffrage Commission website provides information about upcoming events across the state, profiles of New York suffragists and takes visitors on a tour of New York’s historic destinations relevant to the suffrage movement and women’s rights.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.