Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Canal Day: Not Just About the Waterways

By Brianne Harrison

For many of us, New Jersey’s canals are now pleasant places to stroll, hike, or ride a bike along a waterside towpath. It’s easy to forget that these waterways were once vital to the state’s economy, providing quick, easy transport of goods from one end of New Jersey to the other in the days before railroads came onto the scene.

To celebrate the importance of New Jersey’s canals, Wharton Borough hosts an annual Canal Day (now in its 34th year) at the Morris Canal, an extensive waterway that spans the width of the state, from the Delaware River to the Hudson. This day-long, family oriented celebration not only acknowledges the canal’s historic importance to the state; it also highlights the more recent contributions of local artists, artisans, and musicians.

If you’re an art lover or on the prowl for a one-of-a-kind gift, check out the beautiful items for sale at the juried craft fair. Take a break to gorge on Italian specialties, Cornish pasties, and homemade pastries, and check out the “Rock the Canal” Music Festival, featuring New Jersey musicians playing rock, blues, country, and traditional and contemporary Irish folk music. If you’re the adventuresome type, you can take a kayak for a paddle on the canal (for free!) and history buffs can take guided walking tours of the canal or kick back with a free mule-drawn barge ride. There will also be blacksmithing demonstrations, an appearance by the Wallaby Tales Traveling Zoo, pony and hay rides, and presentations of poems written about the canal era, from 1820 to 1900. The day will cap off with fireworks at 7 p.m.

Canal Day will take place this Saturday, August 22, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (raindate Augist 23) at Hugh Force Canal Park, 270 West Central Ave., Wharton. The event is free. For more information, visit canalday.org/canalday.html

1 comment:

Carol said...

Wow what a scenery i like boating in that places and i want to be alone not with anyone!!
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