The 35th annual Canal Fest of the Tonawandas is set to take place from this Sunday, July 16, to Sunday, July 23. The eight-day event will feature live music, carnival games and rides, food, competitions and several other activities.
The annual Chalk-It-Up street art contest will help kick off Canal Fest from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday on Main Street in Tonawanda. This year, in honor of Canal Fest's 35th "birthday," the theme of the artwork is "Birthday Celebration."
Space is limited for the contest. Those wishing to participate are encouraged to sign up by July 15 to reserve a spot.
Also on Sunday, vintage fire trucks will be on display on Webster Street in North Tonawanda and Main Street in Tonawanda.
The popular Canal Fest parade will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, starting at Grove and Main streets in Tonawanda and traveling over to Webster Street in North Tonawanda.
On Wednesday, the annual car cruise will be set up at 3 p.m. in two staging areas - one in North Tonawanda's Gratwick Riverside Park and the other in Tonawanda's Niawanda Park. Both venues provide a view of the Niagara River.
The traditional "Canal Fest Diaper Derby" will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 20, at the corner of Tremont and Webster streets in North Tonawanda.
Then, at 7 p.m., participants will gear up for the "Tim Frank Memorial Canal Fest Four Miler." The race will both commence and conclude on Sweeney and Oliver streets in North Tonawanda. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs in both North Tonawanda and Tonawanda.
The North Tonawanda Youth, Recreation & Parks Department will host a youth talent show at noon Friday, July 21, on the main stage at Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda. To participate in the free event, register online by Wednesday, July 19, at www.ntyouthcenter.com/summer-fun
or call 695-8520, ext. 5510.
The Webster Street Bike Cruise will take place from 5:30-10 p.m. Friday. The event will include a variety of bikes on display, as well as live music from 7-10 p.m. and other offerings.
The Sika Cup Challenge will take place on Saturday, July 22. Participants can work together to build boats with limited materials to then race in the canal.
Also, on both Saturday, July 22, and Sunday, July 23, visitors can shop during the arts and crafts show. Various vendors will line up along Webster and some areas of Main and Tremont streets in North Tonawanda and Main and Adam streets in Tonawanda.
For the finale of the event on the evening of Sunday, July 22, fireworks will light up the sky.
Canal Fest not only offers entertainment, but also benefits local nonprofit organizations, as well.
The event's website, www.canalfest.org
, states "Approximately 50 nonprofit/civic organizations raise a significant portion of their annual operating budget during this eight-day event. Many organizations use this added revenue to offer sponsorships, scholarships and awards to local youth organizations. Over $225,000 was invested back into the community through the efforts of the members of Canal Fest of the Tonawandas Inc."
To help make Canal Fest a success each year, community volunteers donate their time to help run various offerings during the event.
"Between the organizations, over 500 people contribute approximately 20,000 volunteer hours to make this event successful year after year," the event's website states. "They do not only volunteer for the week, many start their planning right after the event and continue right through to the following year."
For more information on Canal Fest, including a complete schedule of activities, visit www.canalfest.org