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Town ready for Barge Bash

July 12, 2007

HANCOCK - The Hancock Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the C&O Canal National Historical Park will present the 5th Annual Barge Bash on the canal this Saturday.

At noon the barges will start to line up on Canal Street so operators may talk strategy and view the barges prior to their launch up the canal.

The first barge will make its way up the canal starting at 2 p.m., according to Penny Pittman, one of the organizers.

There will be food, drinks and ice cream for purchase by local non-profit organizations.

Pittman said the idea was born five years ago when former Hancock Town Manager Larry Logan brought the idea to the chamber as a way to draw attention to the watered section of the canal and the paved Western Maryland Rail Trail that runs parallel to the canal.

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The Barge Bash is a spinoff of the "Great Bath Tub Race" held in Frederick. Any individual, organization, business is welcome to participate. The barge can be any size or shape, but it must be light enough to be carried and launched by two strong men.

It must be capable of carrying at least one human passenger. Passengers will wear approved life vests.

The barge should have a rudder and must be pulled up the canal by a tow team made up of any of the following: human, animal or bicycle. There can be no mechanical propulsion of any kind.

The barge should be designed to float from the Western Maryland Rail Trail Hancock Station to the car bridge providing access to the canal parking and Potomac River boat ramp area.

Barge entries from the past have included a yellow submarine, a John Deere tractor, a fire engine, a pirate ship, Huckleberry Finn's raft, Noah's Ark, a princess and her castle, a cheeseburger, a hot dog on bun and an indian chief in full head dress.

Handcrafted trophies are awarded in eight different catagories: fastest barge, best use of humor, cutest, best organizational theme, the ugliest, most historical recreation, most memorable tow team, and the judge's award.

At 5 p.m., the event will move to Widmeyer Park where there will be basketball tournament, horseshoe pitching, a volleyball tournament, face painting and a moon bounce and slide for the younger children.

There will be a DJ and free swimming at the Hancock pool, an old-fashioned cake walk and music provided by local entertainment at the pavillion.

At 9 p.m., the grand finale will be a fireworks display.

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