by Dave Warner
Rumor has it that It may have started out as just a party down by the river and an excuse to drink beer, but the 32nd Annual Canal Celebration August 5 – 11, 2019 has turned into much more than that. It now represents the recognition of the community, the heritage, and spirit that makes Little Falls a unique place in the Mohawk Valley.
Dozens of events are scattered throughout the City, including concerts, a community picnic, a car show, fireworks, fishing contests, youth pageant, cross country biking and a parade down Main Street. These are just a few of the highlights of the week-long celebration.
According to Tony DeLuca, the Canal Celebration chairman “It’s a celebration of Little Falls’ heritage. It started as an initiative to increase visibility for local businesses and the opportunities in Little Falls, but it has grown into a community celebration.”
“It’s become a time when graduating classes schedule their reunions, people that want to come back to Little Falls to visit friends and relatives schedule their trips and it’s a fun time with a lot of activities for all people – youth through seniors,” he said.
Most of the events are free and entertainment is scheduled throughout the entire week. In addition, many organizations schedule their fund-raising events for this week. “It’s a critical period for them and they depend on the Canal Celebration week to raise resources to get them through the balance of the year,” said DeLuca.
There are several new local and regional musical acts that have never performed in Little Falls in the past. “There are also walking tours, foot races, a fishing derby for kids and adults, there’s an opportunity to get on the river through a Kayak tour, food vendors, and ethnic food from local churches,” he stated.
DeLuca’s favorite is the community picnic at Rotary Park. “People gather, have a great time and listen to some music and it is capped off by fireworks when it’s dark. It’s a beautiful venue.”
The classic car show is a favorite, as is the Elks chicken BBQ. “They’ll be doing it twice, Wednesday night during the community picnic, and again during the car show on Sunday,” he said.
The Canal Celebration is handled by a group of approximately forty volunteers and no paid staff. DeLuca said “We’re always looking for new volunteers to help with the organizational side of things. We’ve lost some great volunteers through retirement or just having done it for 32 years, so we need to re-stock that core committee.”
One thing that is new this year is the jam session up in the Moreland Park pavilion on Thursday the 8th from noon until 10 pm. According to the class of 1969’s De Wayne Perry “The session is free and open to all (not just the Class of ’69). Musicians of all genres (rock, blues, bluegrass, jazz, etc.) are welcome. Bring your instrument, amplifier, microphone, beverages, and picnic, if you wish. There will be a 4-piece Gretsch drumset available for all to use.”
“Without the support of the sponsors, without the support of the DPW, City of Little Falls Police and Fire department, we would not be able to pull this off,” said DeLuca.
For more information visit the community calendar on My Little Falls or visit http://www.littlefallsny.com/Canaldays/Schedule.html