Canal Days draws a crowd

August 29, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

WILLIAMSPORT - If Kristy Hawes' handmade snowmen were real, they surely would have melted at this year's C&O Canal Days.

She spent four months preparing more than 100 pieces of handmade Christmas crafts for the event, which got under way Saturday in Williamsport.

Fanning herself to stay cool in the hot weather, Hawes said although sales were slow, she was proud to have turned a 16-year hobby into a small business venture.

"People kept telling me I was good and I should do something," she said.

This was Hawes' first craft show.

Despite the heat, the event drew a steady flow of shoppers from throughout the Tri-State area. Held at Byron Memorial Park in Williamsport, vendors offered a wide variety of unique custom crafts, food and clothes.


Elissa Slayman, C&O Canal Days chairwoman, said the craft show started in 1976 as a part of Williamsport's bicentennial celebration. Now, it's become a symbol representing one of Washington County's oldest traditions, she said.

"It's grown from 40 crafters to 140 this year," she said.

Slayman said the event attracts several area organizations that depend on fund-raisers.

For the last five years, the Williamsport Fire Co. has held a fund-raiser at the show.

"It's hot out here, but we've sold about 25 T-shirts so far," fund-raising committee member Brandy Osborne said.

In keeping with a seven-year tradition, women from St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Boonsboro sold raffle tickets for a quilt stitched by 13 women who are members of the church.

"We worked on it over the winter months," church member Adele Montgomery said.

Dressed in shorts, hats and sunglasses, vendors and shoppers all complained about the heat. Some shoppers even took refuge under tents to escape the sun.

The heat wasn't a problem for students with Williamsport High School's Sophisti'Cats. The musical group sponsored one of the coolest activities at the show - a dunking machine.

"We've had the machine since 1986," said Cinnamon Rowland, the group's assistant director.

For 50 cents, 12-year-old Seth Boggs dunked a girl on his third attempt, which happened to be his last ball.

"It felt good," Boggs said.

If you go

What: C&O Canal Days

When: Today.

Where: Byron Memorial Park, arts and crafts event (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Williamsport Visitor Center and Cushwa Basin ( 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), the Springfield Museum (noon to 4 p.m.) and the C&O Canal Museum (noon to 5 p.m.)

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