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Midnight madness at Soo Locks as hundreds watch first freighter

A few hundred people packed the viewing platform at midnight to photograph, video, and talk about the Edwin H. Gott slowly working its way into the Poe Lock

Parking on Portage Avenue was hard to come by Friday night as people made their way into the Soo Locks Park to watch the first freighter officially open the 2023 shipping season in Sault Ste Marie.

A few hundred people packed the viewing platform at midnight to photograph, video, and talk about the 1004' x 105' Edwin H. Gott slowly working its way into the Poe Lock from the east end of the Soo Locks.

It had been tied up there since Thursday afternoon after arriving from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Nineteen-year-old Camden Olson made the trip from Spooner, Wisconsin, for the first time to watch the opening of the Soo Locks.  

"I met some friends who loved freighters a few years ago, and over the course, over the years, I got more and more into it, and now I am here. This is my second time here to the Locks but the first time for opening night," Olson said.

"The Locks are pretty important to the American economy. If we don't have the Locks, we do have iron ore heading to the steel plants," Olson added.

Olson, along with his boatnerd friends, were just a few of the dedicated boat lovers in the crowd.

"I think it is pretty amazing that this many people are this dedicated to come out here and see this boat come through late at night to open the shipping season," said Olson.

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