Hiawatha launched with slight hiccup in preparation for cruise season | News, Sports, Jobs


The Hiawatha sits in the Susquehanna River at Susquehanna State Park on Monday. DAVE KENNEDYW/Sun-Gazette

Cruising season for the Hiawatha, a mock paddle steamer along the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, is set to kick off with a relaxing Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday and a season that runs through October.

As Hiawatha Inc. personnel prepared Monday morning to launch the riverboat at the Linden boat launch for the 45-minute trip to Susquehanna State Park, a metal tab on the trailer broke or sheared while the boat was ashore.

Fortunately, Allison Crane & Rigging employees were there to help with the repair and eventual launch.

Soon, orange sparks flew as Dylan Bonk used a hand tool to cut the broken piece of metal, then used a stick welding technique to assemble the new piece onto the trailer.

The riverboat weighs 75 tons and the trailer was original 41 years ago, according to Hiawatha captain and seasonal manager Mike Strunk.

Capt. Mike Strunk sits Monday in the wheelhouse of the Hiawatha at Susquehanna State Park. The Hiawatha was placed in the river Monday for the upcoming season. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

The riverboat is propelled aft by two motors near the paddle wheels, he said.

Strunk and other captains were on hand for the launch. The crew said they liked the customers.

Guests can view the natural surroundings either on the upper deck or on the enclosed lower deck.

Either way, they can see those queuing along the campgrounds and their private residents in the town, DuBoistown, Susquehanna Township and Woodward Township and others saying hello from the shore.

“We are pleased,” said Kim Cillo, Reservations Agent and General Manager. Cruises begin this weekend with Mother’s Day. “This season will kick off with a relaxing mom brunch cruise on Sunday,” says Cillo. The day will continue with cruises at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., she said.

The Hiawatha riverboat is pulled from its winter resting place Monday morning as it is laid out for laying down in the Susquehanna River on May 2, 2022. The paddlewheeler travels the river from May to October 5 days a week. DAVE KENNEDY/Sun Gazette

The season runs from May to October with daily river cruises at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm Wednesday to Sunday in June, July and August. Weekend cruises are only in May, September and October.

Tickets are available online through FareHarbor or onboard Hiawatha – subject to availability. This season is full of fun cruises. The princesses will all be back this season, and the staff at Hiawatha Inc. have also added a superhero cruise for all of their superhero fans.

“We have a monthly scheduled brunch, three craft beer cruises with Fatheads, Rusty Rail and Troegs,” says Cillo.

Hiawatha offers Bingo Cruises, Family Night Out, Dinner Cruises with Eat and Run Catering and Hillside.

River Keeper cruises and an 80s dance party with other special events added throughout the season.

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