Nothing celebrates the start of spring more in this region than the removal of the gigantic ice boom from Lake Erie and the Niagara River.

Saturday’s BoomDays events, stretching from the Buffalo River and the eastern basin of Lake Erie to Youngstown, will start with a bang at the LaSalle Yacht Club on 68th Street off Buffalo Avenue. Muskets fired by reenactors from Old Fort Niagara will welcome the explorer Cavalier LaSalle and Father Hennepin as they arrive by canoe to attend the opening ceremony at 6:45 p.m.

“This is a phenomenon and an event that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world so that makes it very special,” Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper member Larry Brooks said about the ice boom and BoomDays.

The mile-and-a-half long ice boom is installed each winter by the New York Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation to prevent ice buildup on the upper Niagara River which would impede power production and lead to flooding in areas. The boom, consisting of steel pontoons linked together, is typically removed by the beginning of April when enough ice in the river melts.

To mark the removal and give the community something to do during the off season, BoomDays was first celebrated April 2003 and has grown in the number of events and new attendees, known as “boomers.” It was co-founded through a collaboration of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, architect Clint Brown, Rick Smith, president of Rigidized Metals; Tim Herzog, president of Flying Bison Brewing Co., and Buffalo entrepreneur Kevin Townsell.

Dyster said there was initially a five-year commitment to hold an annual event but BoomDays has continued with the help of new sponsors and partnerships.

“The event now seems to have really taken on a life of its own,” the mayor said.

This year’s celebration is especially significant because of the centennial anniversary of the Boundary Waters Treaty between Canada and the U.S. Brooks pointed out the treaty was the first time two countries came to terms on how to peacefully manage shared waters between them.

Dyster joined numerous dignitaries from both sides of the border for a ceremonial ball drop Thursday at the middle of the Peace Bridge in recognition of the centennial anniversary and the official start of BoomDays.

A big part of BoomDays is the shoreline cleanup organized by the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, about 1,500 volunteers are expected to comb the shorelines at 40 sites throughout the Buffalo Niagara region, including the old Century Club park site. To obtain a complete list of locations and sign up, visit www.bnriverkeeper.org.

Saturday evening’s BoomDays celebration at the LaSalle Yacht Club will run from 6 to 10 p.m. Food and drinks will be available for purchase and there will be live music, reenactors and a free fireworks show sponsored by the city at 8:30 p.m.

In addition, 22 exhibits will be displayed, including one on alternative energy by Niagara Falls High School advanced placement chemistry students and design plans for the former Century Club site by the city.

The event’s other co-sponsors include LaSalle PRIDE, LaSalle Yacht Club, Northtown Automotive Companies, Niagara Tradition Home Brewing, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and Niagara Falls Tourism Advisory Board.

There is no admission charge to the “open house” program, but a $5 donation is asked to help support the work of LaSalle PRIDE.

Other BoomDays celebrations in the region will be held at Dug’s Dive in Buffalo and the Youngstown Yacht Club, 491 Water St., where there will be dinner and drinks beginning at 5 p.m. and live music by The Carl Filbert Band at 7 p.m. More details of all events are posted at www.boomdays.com.



BoomDays

Here is a list of some of the local events happening on Saturday in celebration of the seventh-annual BoomDays. More regional events and information can be found at www.boomdays.com.

Shoreline cleanup

• SCHEDULE: From 9 a.m. to noon, up to 1,500 volunteers will partner with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to clean up the shoreline of 40 sites throughout the Buffalo Niagara region, including the old Century Club park on Buffalo Avenue. For more information, including a complete list of sites, or to sign up and volunteer, visit www.bnriverkeeper.org or call (716) 852-7483.



LaSalle Yacht Club

• ADDRESS: 73 S. 68th St., Niagara Falls

• SCHEDULE: Party and open house from 6 to 10 p.m. Opening ceremony at 6:45 p.m. featuring a musket fire by Old Fort Niagara reenactors to welcome the explorer Cavalier LaSalle and Father Hennepin as they arrive by canoe. Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster and State Sen. Antoine Thompson will present city and state proclamations. Dinner and drinks will be available for purchase during the evening and there will be live music, reenactors and over 20 exhibitors on display. A fireworks show sponsored by the City of Niagara Falls will begin at 8:30 p.m. over the Niagara River.



Youngstown Yacht Club

• ADDRESS: 491 Water St., Youngstown

• SCHEDULE: Dinner, drinks and group exhibits from 5 to 7 p.m. followed by live music from The Carl Filbert Band. Reservations for dinner are suggested by calling 754-7230, ext. 14.