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'Everybody wants to show off what they've got' at Canal-Apple Days

September 08, 2010|By DON AINES

The C&O Canal has not carried cargo or travelers since the 1920s and the apple industry is largely gone, but their histories remain intertwined with that of Hancock, a legacy to be celebrated Sept. 18-19 at the Hancock Lions Club 34th Annual Canal-Apple Days.

"Thirty-four years ago, the apple industry in the Hancock area was very, very major in terms of business and employment," said Larry Gerber Sr., chairman of the event. At that time, "there were still some old canalers around," he said.

Most of the orchards are gone, but Gerber said, "the canal is being brought back to some prominence" as an attraction.

Gerber said thousands likely will be on hand for Canal-Apple Days, which begins with the Grand Feature Parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. During both days of the festival at Widmeyer Park, there will be arts and crafts vendors, antique tractors on display and food for sale, including the Hancock Lions Club's chicken barbecue, he said.

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There is free admission and parking for the festival, Gerber said.

A few thousand apple dumplings prepared by St. Peter's Catholic Church parishioners and a cider press will be in action, Gerber said.

New to the festival will be a fiddle and banjo contest at 2 p.m. Saturday. A chain saw artist and a portable sawmill also are featured during the festival, he said.

There will be an 8:30 a.m. church service at the bandstand and the annual baby contest will be from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the new Hancock Lions Pavilion, Gerber said. The baby contest usually draws quite a few entries, he said.

"Everybody wants to show off what they've got," he said.

The Russ and Donna Miller Band will perform at the bandstand from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., according to the festival schedule.

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