Photos by Dave Warner
Little Falls, NY – This summer, Little Falls will enjoy their 31st annual Canal Celebration. Now in its third decade, the weeklong event represents the community’s recognition of the spirit and heritage that makes Little Falls a unique place in the Mohawk Valley. Canal Celebration has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors to Little Falls to enjoy dozens of family-oriented events held throughout the week. With the help of volunteers, local businesses and non-profits, and the City of Little Falls, this annual celebration has been made possible. This year, Canal Celebration is set to take place August 6-12.
Each year’s festival has a theme including commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal in 2017, and the 100th anniversary of Lock 17 in 2016. This year the event is honoring 125 years of Little Falls Hospital as an integral part of the city. The Committee is comprised of several community minded individuals, some of whom have assisted with Canal Celebration since its first years. Tony Deluca of the Little Falls Family YMCA also continues to provide a guiding hand to oversee the festival. The Committee explains, “We enjoy preparing an all-ages, affordable celebration for our community and welcome any visitors to our city to join the fun. It also provides a great opportunity to highlight a part of our city’s rich history, such as the hospital’s tenure providing quality healthcare to the community.”
The weeklong celebration has always drawn people into Little Falls and the support by local businesses has both helped the event’s ongoing success as well as the businesses themselves. Committee member and business owner, Christine VanMeter, explains, “Little Falls is a welcoming community that is proud of its history and its forward-looking progress. We have numerous events throughout the year that draw thousands to our downtown area and we make sure to promote our locally owned businesses to help drive their bottom line as well. It’s a smart way to offer entertainment to families while boosting our local living economy.”
Little Falls resident, Laura Powers, lends a promotional hand to Canal Celebration and shares, “Little Falls is solidifying its place as a family-friendly festival destination in the Mohawk Valley. The valley area has seen so many changes over the decades and the fact that this event has taken place year after year is simply impressive. I believe that the persistence of Canal Celebration is what has given strength for newer festivals to take hold such as the Garlic and Herb Festival, Cheese Festival, and various Third Thursday events.”
This year’s celebration introduces new features including free Yoga in the Park with Unfold Yoga, a garden-tractor pull, Alice in Library-Land with Little Falls Library and LiFT, free lawn games, video gaming competition, and Upstate Hoopz entertaining during the Friday night block party on Main Street. True to its roots, Canal Celebration will hold its annual downtown parade, and several classics return including the Freedom Run, Sheriff Farber Kids Run, Iron Man Classic, fireworks show and community picnic, Chicks Along the Canal, Rotary golf tournament, car show, live outdoor music and more.
Canal Celebration entertainment was made possible in part by the City of Little Falls, the Little Falls Family YMCA, and funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the NYS Council on the Arts. There is a lot going on during the week and details can be found online at www.canalcelebration.com or on the “Little Falls Canal Celebration” Facebook page.