County’s Towpath completion cause for celebration
|Shown are bicyclists along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. A day full of special events celebrating Summit County being the first county with its section of the Towpath Trail completed will take place during Summit Towpath 2012 July 7.
|Photo courtesy of Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition|
July 7 is Summit Towpath 2012, featuring Towpath-themed events and activities along the trail’s 41 miles in Summit County.
“We’ve had a yearlong celebration with events throughout the year such as canoeing, bicycling and cleanups to get people to go out there and utilize this tremendous resource,” said Dan Rice, co-executive director of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition. “It culminates on July 7 with a major celebration. During the entire day, individuals and families can go out onto the trailheads and experience natural history, see historical re-enactments or make a craft, and we’ll wrap up the event with a parade and concert.”
In addition, those who attend any of the official Towpath events can receive free tickets to that night’s concert at Lock 3 Park, featuring Arlo Guthrie and The Guthrie Family Reunion celebrating music icon Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday.
“We couldn’t think of anybody better to fit with what we are trying to do,” Rice said.
In addition to the Ohio & Erie Canalway, other local entities participating in the effort are the city of Akron, Summit County, Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP), Cascade Locks Park Association, Summit County Historical Society, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.
The day will begin at 9 a.m. with the Lockheed Martin Towpath Freedom 5K run, which starts and ends at Lock 3 Park, 200 S. Main St. in Downtown Akron. The route will take runners along some of the newest sections of the Towpath in Akron. Preregistration for the run is $20 before July 5 and $25 from then until the event. The first 50 veterans to sign up will participate for free.
Just prior to the run, at 8:30 a.m., there will be a 1-mile Kids Fun Run. Registration is $10 per child and includes a T-shirt.
Events along the trail will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They include:
• Meet the Paw Patrol, noon to 5 p.m., Ira Trailhead in CVNP. Hikers are welcome to bring their dog to meet members of CVNP’s Paw Patrol.
• Wildlife Watchers at Beaver Marsh, noon to 5 p.m. Volunteers will be available to answer wildlife questions and point out highlights at the Beaver Marsh, located a half mile from the Ira Trailhead.
• Hang Out at Hunt: Canal Days Dress Up, Hunt Farm Visitor Information Center, CVNP, 1 to 3 p.m. Visitors can try on clothing from the canal era and have their photo taken.
• Water Quality Stop, Lock 29, Peninsula, 1 to 3 p.m. CVNP’s water-quality ranger and volunteers will provide an activity and information on the water quality in the park.
• Mustill Store and Schumacher Mill Site, Cascade Locks Park in Akron, 1 to 3 p.m. Meet the store’s owner, Emma Mustill, in a look back at the mid-1800s, then take a guided hike to the Schumacher Mill site for the story behind the water wheel replica.
• Richard Howe House, 47 W. Exchange St., Downtown Akron, 1 to 3 p.m. Visitors can enjoy Canal Mud sundaes on the patio of the house that overlooks the canal, as well as create a canal/Towpath themed bandana or take the Howe House Quest.
Rice said there will be a program at Lock 3 at 6 p.m. with local officials, who will parade to the site from the Howe House.
“Historically, before the canal was constructed they had toasts,” Rice said. “We’ll have Capt. Richard Howe, the original engineer for the Ohio & Erie Canal, lead us in a toast.”
For the occasion, Akron’s Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. will prepare a special beer and root beer, Rice said.
He added there also will be an induction of local leaders into the Lock Tenders Circle.
“A lock tender was a guardian of the Ohio & Erie Canal in the 1800s, responsible for making sure the locks operated perfectly,” Rice said. “In that same spirit, we want to recognize the lock tenders of the Ohio & Erie Canalway, those who have been incredible stewards and leaders to developing the Towpath.”
Local musical act Hey Mavis will perform on the Lock 3 stage before the Guthrie Family Reunion. According to Arlo Guthrie’s website, the show will feature some of his songs, as well as those of his father, who wrote “This Land Is Your Land” and “This Train Is Bound for Glory.”
For more information on events, call 330-374-5657 or go to www.ohioanderiecanalway.com.
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