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Barge Bash stays afloat in Hancock

July 12, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

HANCOCK - At Hancock's yearly Barge Bash, defeat really might evoke a sinking feeling.

As in you and your barge sinking into the C&O Canal.

Competitors hope to stay afloat in this year's Barge Bash - an event in which the aim is to tow a vessel, the "barge," about 1,000 feet down the canal using your body, a bike or an animal.

There are several categories of competition, such as the Fastest Barge and the People's Choice Award. Winners from each category receive a barge-shaped trophy carved from wood.

The mini-barge competition was canceled this year, due to lack of entrants, said Lou Close, treasurer for the Hancock Chamber of Commerce.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, there were at least 10 entries in the main competition, though more will likely join in on race day, Close said.

After the barges compete, the festival continues at Widmyer Park, off West Main Street, from about 6 p.m. to dusk. Activities include: food vendors, balloons, live music, cakewalk, face painting and more. There will be a fireworks show at dusk.

Last year, the Interfaith Service Coalition was the Cinderella story of the competition, walking away with the People's Choice Award.

"A big contrast from (2005) when we won Ugliest Barge," said Deborah Cohill, Interfaith's executive director.

That year, the group built a castle-shaped barge under a "Christian Crusader" theme. All went wrong when the horse pulling the contraption bolted.

"(The barge) kind of did a nose dive and never recovered," Cohill said. And into the water went the barge and the poor volunteer standing on top of it, Cohill said.

The Interfaith group is confident there'll be no nose dives this year.

They've brought back Ben Stotler, the same guy who designed last year's winning Clampett-mobile. Their entry this year: a covered-wagon barge.

"We have to have him sign a noncompetition agreement. He's that good," Cohill said, jokingly, adding that Stotler was not responsible for the 2005 barge that won the Ugliest Barge award.




If you go ...



WHAT: Fifth annual Barge Bash

WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday, July 14. Barges will lineup along Canal Street in the Western Maryland Rail Trail parking lot starting at noon.

WHERE: The Barge Bash competition takes place along the C&O Canal, convening at the Western Maryland Rail Trail parking lot.

COST: Free to watch, $100 to enter a barge.

MORE: For more information, call the Hancock Chamber of Commerce, 301-678-5900.

After the barges compete, the festival continues at Widmyer Park, off West Main Street, from about 6 p.m. to dusk. Activities include: food vendors, balloons, live music, cake walk, face painting and more. There will be a fireworks show at dusk.

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