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11th annual Barge Bash at C&O National Historical Park brings spirit of community

June 29, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com
  • The Rev. Jack Lombardi moves his barge forward with Philomena Tiller in the bow Saturday at Hancock's 11th annual Barge Bash at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
By Kevin G. Gilbert / Staff Photographer

HANCOCK, Md. — Hancock celebrated its 11th annual Barge Bash on Saturday at Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park with a parade of barges, good cheer and a spirit of community.

The contest attracted 10 entries this year, and the barges — usually motorless vessels — included names such as “God Bless America,” “American Pride” and “Cleopatra: Canal of Denile.”

This year’s event was sponsored by the Hancock Arts Council, the town of Hancock and C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy, who had his own barge at Saturday’s event, “the USS Monitor in Maryland,” said the contest encourages creativity.

“We bring people down along the banks of our historic canal and we remember the past ... and what the canal meant to the formation of this town and the way the town developed along the banks of the canal ...” Murphy said. “Year after year, we are amazed at the quality (of the Barge Bash entries).”

On Saturday, Murphy was dressed as a naval officer “leading the USS Monitor in the waters of Maryland.”

“USS Monitor was the first ironclad ship to be commissioned into the U.S. Navy,” according to the Historical Naval Ships Association website. It was built during the Civil War.

The People’s Choice Award was won by “Cleopatra: Canal of Denile.”

The captain of the barge, Pam Brenner of Hancock Pet Salon, said her team worked for two days on the barge.

“It is a lot of fun,” she said.

The Rev. Jack Lombardi, the captain of a barge called “Fishers of Men,” said his entry commemorated “our friend in heaven, Saint Peter.”

Lombardi is pastor at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Hancock and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Little Orleans, Md.

“It helps us to remember the history of Hancock ... it helps us to remember our roots and get us together to have some fun and see where we came from,” Lombardi said of the Barge Bash.

Ian McAllister of Mercersburg, Pa., said he built the “Fishers of Men” barge mostly with cardboard. He said the project took about 11 hours.

“The price would be about $3,” McAllister said. “Cardboard is cheap.”

Vickie Quackenbos of Hancock, who brought her family to the Barge Bash, said she liked the event because “it brings the town together.”

“It helps support the town,” she said.

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