Hancock barges go gently down the canal

June 18, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • Venessa Youngblood, left, with sister and Captain Carolyn Clingerman of the Barge, Teddy Bears Picnic, make last-minute changes Saturday before they set sail at the C&O Canal National Historical Park in Hancock.
By Chris Tilley/Staff Photographer

HANCOCK, Md. — Was that Murphy the Marauder at the C&O Canal National Historical Park on Saturday?

Actually, it was Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy and he was a rather benevolent Viking.

The mayor went full Norse for the day — decked out from helmet to sandals — to join in the spirit of the town's ninth annual Barge Bash at the C&O Canal.

Murphy and his veterinary office have entered barge boats every year except one, but this was his first appearance "with horns on my head," he said.

Besides the parade of barges, the event featured a canal family reunion.

"It was a good, short festival, but full of a lot of fun and food," Murphy said.

The Lions Club of Hancock offered barbecued chicken. The Hancock Arts Council served snow cones.

People sat on the banks of the canal, lounging in the sun and applauding the barges as they passed. Several spectators brought dogs with them.

One dog was pressed into duty.

As Pamela Brenner of Hancock Pet Salon, dressed as a mermaid, floated down the canal on her "Under the Sea" float, Mossberg Matthews Norris, a 3-year-old black Lab, helped tug from the shore.

Well, not exactly. Mossberg — who is named after a gun maker — walked and sniffed while his owner, Lura Norris, did the real pulling.

Brenner said Mossberg is one of her customers.

Other barges at Saturday's bash belonged to Hancock United Methodist Church and the National Park Service, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the canal as a national historical park.

One float theme was "A Journey in Transportation — From Mule to Moon."

CNB Bank's barge was "Teddy Bears Picnic," a craft teeming with teddy bears.

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