'Weird stuff' makes good prizes for Barge Bash

June 25, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • A row of chickens check out prizes made by Fulton County, Pa., artist Mike Kligerman for this years' Barge Bash in Hancock. Prizes include a cookie jar with a gourd head, a shoemaker's last, an axe, and a ceramic elephant planter.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer,

HANCOCK - Creativity will be afloat Saturday at the eighth-annual Barge Bash in Hancock.

Sponsored by the Hancock Arts Council, the Town of Hancock and the C&O Canal National Historical Park, Barge Bash is a fun homage to the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal.

Though there will be an inaugural "Bash Dash" foot race, the barge contest has typically the event's focal point.

The contest is of the same ilk as a street parade float contest, except in this case the parade is nautical. Organizers broadly define "barge" as any motorless vessel - as in powered by pedal, human or animal - that can carry at least one person.

Hancock Mayor Dan A. Murphy said an impartial four-person panel would judge "barges" across more than a dozen categories. The "People's Choice" pick is left to public vote.

"The idea is that everyone is a winner," Murphy said.

A win in any of the category earns a barge bashers "trophy" created by Fulton County, Pa., artist Mike Kligerman.


"I look for weird stuff that I think would be a good prize," said Kligerman, who then paints the objects. He pointed to a few he created last year as examples: a fry pan with a painted fried egg on the face of the pan and a barge and mule painted on the pan's underside.

"So you get the sense these are fairly funky pieces," Kligerman said.

Murphy said the deadline to enter the barge contest has come and gone. As of Wednesday afternoon, 11 barges had entered.

Hancock Art Council plans to enter a wild chicken-themed barge, which Kligerman said was a humorous take on the emergence of feral chickens in Hancock.

"I've seen them along the town's borders," Kligerman said.

Mayor Murphy said barge bashers will travel a slightly shorter distance this year due to a project to repair a historic culvert along the canal.

Murphy approximated that the distance would be 20 feet shorter than the typical distance, which is around 400 yards.

The project, Murphy said, would have left the Barge Bash portion of the C&O Canal dry on Bash Day, but town and park officials have arranged to rewater part of the canal for Barge Bash, despite the project.

The C&O Canal is a defunct 184.5-mile transportation system built in the 19th century. Don Corbett, president of the Hancock Historical Society, said Hancock was an important shipping point along the canal.

"Hancock used to be a bustling place," Corbett said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Eighth-annual Barge Bash, a nautical parade

WHEN: Saturday, June 26.

o Barge entries will assemble at 10 a.m. and will be placed in the watered portion of the C&O canal at noon; the nautical parade begins at 1 p.m.; prizes will be given at 2 p.m.

o Registration for the Bash Dash one-mile race is from 9 to 10 a.m. The race will start at Hancock Middle Senior High School and end at the Barge Bash site.

WHERE: C&O Canal National Historical Park, in Hancock. Western Maryland Rail Trail parking lot off Canal Street, near Lockhouse Restaurant. The address for Lockhouse Restaurant is 11 E. Main St.

COST: Free to attend.

CONTACT: For more information call Hancock Town Hall at 301-678-5622.

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