Association to celebrate 30th annual Canal Day

File photo by Barry Taglieber-Two participants battle during last year's Canal Joust during Canal Day.

MONT CLARE — Spend some time at Lock 60 and St. Michael’s Park for a packed day of entertainment on Canal Day.

The 30th annual Canal Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 24. It is hosted by the Schuylkill Canal Association.

According to the SCA’s website, http://schuylkillcanal.org, more than 3,000 people are expected to attend Canal Day.

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This year’s festival is being dedicated in memory of SCA longtime volunteer Denny Porrini who died in April from cancer.

“He was a volunteer with the association from the very beginning, since the early ’80s,” said Betsy Daley, SCA executive director. “He was involved with the grounds and waterways committee, one of the most critical and busiest committees.”

In addition to his involvement with Canal Day, he started the Schuylkill River Trail Run which is now in its 25th year and coincides with Canal Day. He was also a co-creator of the popular canal joust during Canal Day. During the joust, two people walk across a telephone pole and try to knock each other in the water using padded sticks. The contenders play best out of three.

Porrini also helped organize the pig roast which was held in the past.

The celebration will feature some new entertainment. Musicians with Rock and Roll After School will be performing during the event.

Also new this year is Dr. Kelly’s Medicine Show and Alex the juggler who juggles bowling pins, balls and flaming batons while riding a unicycle.

The Highland Games competition is returning this year. Attendees can enjoy the traditional Canal Day activities including the trail run (Denny Porrini Memorial Run), Canoe/Kayak 5-mile Water Trail Race. The trail run begins at 9 a.m. and the canoe/kayak race will begin at 11 a.m. Attendees can also participate in the horseshoe competition at St. Michael’s Park. There will be singles and doubles tournaments this year.

Youngsters can enjoy a children’s fishing derby, games and crafts.

Also returning are various bands from last year including Holt 45, ECHO and Christine and Company. Lock 60 openings will take place throughout the day. The last one of the day will mark the start of the canal joust.

Towpath Road will be closed to vehicular traffic from 8:30 to 4 p.m. Attendees can park at St. Michael’s Park and walk to Canal Day. A handicapped accessible shuttle bus will be offered for people who cannot make the walk.

A $5 donation will be the admission. Children 12 and under get in for free. Proceeds benefit the association.

“It’s the only day of the year we ask people to provide a small donation,” Daley said. “It’s to keep the park open and keep the lights on at the Locktender’s House. We do manage this park for Montgomery County. We hold Canal Day to make people aware of the canal. It needs stewardship. It needs volunteers to keep it going. Like many other counties, Montgomery County’s budget is shrinking.”

For more information, visit http://schuylkillcanal.org.