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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Cascade Locks planning expanded Canal Fest, Duck Derby

6/20/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The main attraction for this year’s Canal Fest is the annual Duck Derby. Shown are ducks that are released down the Ohio & Erie Canal during a past Duck Derby.
Photo: Krista Galloway
WEST AKRON — This summer’s Canal Fest will be the biggest one planned in the event’s four-year history, organizers with the Cascade Locks Park Association (CLPA) said.

“This is probably the biggest we’ve ever done,” said David Kirschbaum, CLPA vice president and a Highland Square resident. “We started earlier this year — last fall — so we had more time to prepare. We had more ideas that kept coming from people. It really had a chance to become something.”

The event, which spans June 28-29, is the park organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, as well as a way to attract people to see all of the new features and plans for the future at the park site at North and Howard streets north of downtown.

The main attraction this year is the annual Duck Derby, which will take place June 29. There are actually two races, one that is a 50-50 raffle and the other that awards prizes from donors such as a helicopter ride on Akron Children’s Hospital’s Air Bear, a behind-the-scenes Akron Zoo tour and University of Akron loge football tickets. The prize derby is at 1 p.m. and the raffle derby is at 4 p.m.

For the derby, participants purchase a numbered rubber duck at a cost of $5 for the first derby or $10 for the second. The ducks are released down the Ohio & Erie Canal at the same time, and the one that crosses the finish line first is the winner.

There are 1,000 ducks available for each race, and Kirschbaum said he hopes they are all purchased this year.

The weekend events will kick off this year with a party June 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Cascade Lofts building, which is currently being developed. It’s open to vendors and volunteers at the next day’s event, as well as the general public. Those who purchase their ducks for the derby that night have the opportunity to sample 10 beers from Thirsty Dog Brewery. There also will be music and casual fare.

Events on June 29 will begin at 11 a.m. and last until 7 p.m. and include a children’s play and craft area at the Mustill Store. There also will be two stages with musical acts: The Cascade Lofts site will feature an outdoor stage with performances by Roxxymoron, The House Popes, Umojah Nation and Mike Lenz, while the Schumacher site will host Zach, the Akron Ceili Band and the Blue Ribbon Bluegrass Band.

Food vendors expected to be at the event are KonaIce, Zydeco Bistro, Sauced, The Diamond Deli, Dave’s Hot Dogs, Stray Dog Street Food, Lisa’s Place Concessions, Parasson’s and Over the Top Gourmet Popcorn. Thirsty Dog’s Akron-made beers also will be offered at its area at the Cascade Lofts building.

Nearly 20 art vendors featuring jewelry, fiber crafts, photography and painting will be on hand throughout the day.

The day’s events serve as a way to support the CLPA’s programing and sites, Kirschbaum said. The Mustill Store is a canal-era building thought to have been built in 1850. It served as a store that provided necessities to boat crews during the canal’s heyday. The restored building now features exhibits on the canal’s history.

Kirschbaum said CLPA also provides tours of the Schumacher site, where Ferdinand Schumacher operated his mill, to schoolchildren to help them understand Akron’s early history.

During the event, West North Street will be closed to traffic. Parking with be available on East North Street, as well as at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, with free trolley shuttle service available.

For more information on the event, go to clpacanalfest.com or call 330-374-5625.

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