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Saturday and Sunday, the Union Canal Park was the site of the 32nd annual Union Canal Days. Take a look at LebTown’s coverage of the event.
All photos by Emily Bixler
The Union Canal Days’ signature attractions—boat tours of the canal—were up in the air during the event’s planning due to the ongoing pandemic. However, the tours were permitted to operate at 75 percent capacity, or 15 people.
“Originally we thought we may not be able to have boat tours, so we were talking about narrated walking tours,” said Friends of the Union Canal Tunnel Park volunteer Howard MacFadden. “Then as the restrictions were decreasing, we were authorized to have boat tours up to 75 percent capacity.”
As in previous years, the Union Canal Days offered a gift basket raffle for visitors to try their hand at winning various products.
While there were not as many vendors as in some previous years, local retailers including Royer’s Flowers, Behm’s Signs and Designs, and more local vendors who set up tents at the park.
Vendors set up an arrangement of products for guests to the Union Canal Days to browse. Don Edris of Iron Oak Creations even set up a blacksmithing area to work while he ran the stand.
“(My) working brings people over to watch,” Edris said. “That’s the other advantage working at an event like this, because people will come over to see what you’re doing.”
While not offering as wide a range of food selections as in some years, the event still had food selections for visitors.
The event also offered entertainment: Matt Dodd returned for the second year to perform his show “Matt Dodd Presents Songs and Stories of Old Canal Days,” in which he takes on the role of a 19th Century canal worker and explains the history of canals in the US.
“It takes a lot of research, because I want to become the character and be able to answer any of the questions that people have,” Dodd said about his performance.
While the event was free, parking was $5 per vehicle, with proceeds going toward upkeep of the park.
“[The Union Canal Days] is how we have money to make repairs to our equipment that maintains this beautiful park, all the fuel, all the tools that we need,” explained Friends of the Union Canal Tunnel Park volunteer Pete Silldorff.
Read More: Leading life at 83 full steam ahead – the many outdoors interests of Pete Silldorff
“Lebanon County should really know and appreciate what we’ve been able to preserve here and maintain,” Silldorff said, noting that volunteers work on the park every Wednesday morning. “It’s an ongoing project with the most dedicated group of volunteers who have a great time working here, volunteering.”
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