In their tricorn hats and braided ponytails, the reenactors were prepared to kayak over the Delaware River as George Washington did on Christmas Eve in 1776, paving the way for a crucial victory for the Continental Army.
However, the River Had Other Plans
This year’s crossing of the river at Washington Crossing Historic Park has been called off due to extremely high water levels and icy weather. On Christmas Day, Washington was to deliver a rousing speech to the troops, and he had already planned additional celebrations.
Park visitor services coordinator Guy Sava explained that this is simply part of a tradition honouring both the military victory and the triumph over the harsh winter.
Seventy years have passed since the crossing first opened. That’s why it’s cancelled in those years,” he explained. To paraphrase, “I suppose we’ve crossed more than we haven’t crossed,” but “the river circumstances, the weather conditions, and in this case, there is ice on the river.
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A weather-related cancellation of the crossing occurred on Christmas Day, 2018. In 2020, due to the pandemic, organisers decided against holding a public event and instead conducted a “surreptitious crossing” around 6 in the morning.
The New Jersey State Police, who supply a safety boat for the event, and the captains and safety officers of the 11-man rowboats decide when it is safe to cross the river.
Sava estimated that between 1,500 and 2,500 people would show up from the Pennsylvania side alone, with a comparable number gathering on the New Jersey shores.
Thousands of people showed up even when it rained, he claimed. “It’s obvious that the subzero temperatures put off a lot of potential customers.
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