Association hosts Walnutport Canal Festival Sunday
The Walnutport Canal Association will host its biggest fundraiser of the year, The 37th annual Walnutport Canal Festival, beginning at noon Sunday.
“A lot of hard work goes into it,” said Walnutport Canal Association President Jeanne Boehrer.
Boehrer said more than 35 craft vendor will sell their wares while live entertainment will take the stage throughout the day.
“We have the Lehigh Valley Folk Society, local favorite Jay Smarr and Dave Matsinko this year,” she said.
Lockhouse tours will be conducted. A bounce house, face painting and a juggler will keep the kids busy during this free family-friendly event.
“We have over 100 baskets for the basket raffle. All donated by local businesses and volunteers,” Boehrer said.
It takes close to six months and 75 volunteers to organize and conduct the association’s larger fundraiser.
“We start planning in April and have monthly meetings that are open to anyone to attend. Everything is done by volunteers.”
This year a new addition to the canal will be unveiled, the Douglas Boehrer Garden and Gazebo, behind the pavilion at the canal.
Jeanne Boehrer took over as president of the association after her husband died in April.
“We were married for 38 years,” she said.
Along with activities and exhibits, food will be available by several local nonprofit organizations.
“The Boy Scouts and churches will be here selling baked goods and walking tacos. This year we have a new item, the “Happy Bowl,” filled with filling, turkey and gravy and loaded Tater Tots, sausage sandwiches, pierogies casserole, hot dogs and hamburgers,” she said.
“If you can’t find something you like at this festival, you just let us know and we will work on it for next year.”
Boehrer said the festival averages nearly 5,000 visitors a year and she hopes this year will be no different.
“It’s supposed to be warm weather,” she said.
“It’s very nice that the community and business come out and support us, it’s wonderful they show up. That’s why we make it special,” she said.
The mission of the nonprofit association is to, “Maintain and preserve the Walnutport section of the Lehigh Canal and to present an interpretive history of the Canal Era at the Locktender’s House and Museum.”
“We have a section of the canal we take care of, the pavilion, the lockhouse and the Heritage Center, we are working on getting running,” Boehrer said.
This event is free and open to the public. A rain date has been set for the following Sunday. Anyone who rides a bicycle can park their bike for free on Main and Canal streets.
“It’s going to be a gorgeous event. Lots of things to see and do for young and old.”
Traditionally the Saturday before the festival hosted the Towpath Trot, which was canceled this year.
“The girl who organizes it just couldn’t do it this year. It takes a lot of volunteer hours even for the trot. We hope people miss it this year and we will have it next year,” she said.
The association will host its second annual kayak race at noon on Saturday for folks to come and enjoy the water before the winter season.
A first, second and third place cash prize will be awarded to paddlers. Registration will start at noon at the locktender’s house. The race will begin with a mass start at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $10 and the proceeds will benefit the Walnutport Canal Association.
Racers must be 18 years of age or older and must have their own equipment and mandatory life vest. All racers need to complete an application and waiver to enter the race.
For more information on the quarter-mile on the Walnutport Canal kayak race, contact organizer: Dan Rempp at email@example.com.