American Duchess cancels Thursday stop but another is planned for May 4

The American Duchess, the nation’s newest paddlewheeler, was scheduled to stop in Owensboro on Thursday, April 26.

But high water on the Ohio River forced the steamboat, which carries up to 166 passengers, to change its plans.

But the Duchess, billed as “the first all-suite paddlewheeler on U.S. rivers,” is scheduled to be here on May 4 — if river levels drop.

The American Queen, billed as the “largest steamboat ever built,” is slated to be in Owensboro on July 6.

It can carry 436 passengers and a crew of 160.

And the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau says there’s a chance that one of the boats may return in the fall.

The CVB has tried for years to make Owensboro a major stop for the river cruises without much success.

The Queen stopped last year for the first time in four years.

But Dave Kirk, the CVB’s destination marketing manager, said that’s changing.

With O.Z. Tyler Distillery getting on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail on June 1 and the new Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum opening in October, there’s going to be more to attract the boats to stop in Owensboro, he said.

“I think changing the museum’s name to Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum will definitely help,” Kirk said.

The American Queen Steamboat Co. refers to Owensboro as a “hidden gem.”

The Duchess’ stop from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 4 includes visits to the distillery, Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, the CVB’s Hall of Fame and the current International Bluegrass Music Museum.

The Queen’s stop on July 6 is part of a bourbon tour.

It includes a tour of O.Z. Tyler Distillery, the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art and the CVB Hall of Fame.

Messenger-Inquirer article written by Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, [email protected]