SALTSBURG: Organizers finishing work for 33rd Canal Days event
SALTSBURG — Saltsburg is gearing up for the 33rd annual Canal Days Festival with its offering of food, music and fun for the whole family.
Canal Days begins Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., and continues from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Canal Days planning committee member Paul “P.J.” Hruska said the committee faced the usual challenges in putting the event together for this year.
“Snags are inevitable,” he said. “There are always problems to work out.”
The challenges this year included deciding exactly where the bands would be playing, determining vendor locations and finding adequate money.
Funding for the yearly fireworks show was particularly important, with almost $6,000 going to that single event.
“You definitely don’t want to skimp there,” Hruska said. “It’s the climax of the whole Canal Days weekend. It goes out with a bang.”
“We have a lot of good people and a lot of good support, too,” he added. “It’s nothing we haven’t taken by the horns and gotten done.”
Hruska noted that visitors may want to attend David Conrad’s tours of historical Saltsburg locales on Friday evening. Conrad helped form Townspeople Inc., an organization that focuses on the arts and history of Saltsburg. According to Hruska, Townspeople Inc. recently purchased the W.R. McIlwain Store and Warehouse, known locally as the Mule Barn, with grant money and funds raised by the organization. Conrad will be offering tours of the Mule Barn as well as other buildings in Saltsburg.
Attendees can look forward to the variety of entertainment offered at Canal Days of the past, including the parade, fireworks and DJ Jammin’ Jim, whose music will be heard throughout the weekend.
Stone House Museum tours will be offered, along with the Saltsburg Herbal Society’s garden sale and the annual karaoke contest for under- and over-18-year-old contestants.
The annual flag retiring ceremony will be held Saturday with veterans of Saltsburg’s American Legion Post 57 performing the ceremony. The Drums of Native Sisters will also perform a song to honor the veterans.
“It’s pretty cool,” Hruska said. “You have some older guys out there doing the flag retirement.”
Musical guests this year will include singer Cathy Rhodes, singer Kevin Dale and the “backwoods rock ‘n roll” of The Shinners on Friday; rock/funk band Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, ’80s metal band Wylde Syde and country music band Saddle Up on Saturday; and Instamatic Grin and the polka music of Ray Skovenski on Sunday.
Guests will also find mechanical bull riding, the Saltsburg Senior Center sale and Lions Club eyeglass collections all weekend long.
Free shuttle service will be provided from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. The shuttle will loop around the high school, the corner of Cathedral and Washington streets, Salt Center (the old high school), the Saltsburg Playground and the corner of Salt and Point streets near Shop ‘n Save.
Canal Days is funded by fundraising as well as vendor fees and local donations. More than 20 businesses donated to this year’s event.