In west central Indiana, in the town of Delphi, we have the Wabash and Erie Canal Park, where you can actually see the canal that helped grow our country (the Erie Canal was even the subject of the song, Low Bridge Everybody Down, also called the “Erie Canal Song”).
You can commemorate the canals’ history in Delphi during the Canal Days on July 7 & 8 in Canal Park. You’ll be able to see what life was like when the canals were some of the only reliable forms of transportation of goods and people.
Delphi holds the Canal Days every year “with a nod to our nation’s birthday and the early American ingenuity realized by the creation of the Wabash & Erie Canal.”
This is a free festival, which includes access to all of the trails, the historical interpretation of Pioneer Village, the canal boat playground, and their interpretive museum. The buildings will be open 10:00 am-4:00 pm Saturday and from noon-4:00 pm Sunday, and the trails are open from dawn to dusk.
In Pioneer Village, you can also learn about wooden bowl carving on Saturday, whittling and carpentry (children can make their own bird house), dulcimer making, blacksmithing, jewelry making, basket weaving, fabric arts and needle crafts, and metal and leather working (the Leather Guild will also have projects for kids).
In keeping with the Independence Day celebration, for you history buffs, there will be 17 historic flags on display, from the British Union Jack and the original 13-star flag of 1775 to the Union’s flag during the Civil War and the present-day 50-star flag. (Don’t roll your eyes! Chances are you have some history buffs who are already pulling out their Indiana map to find the fastest road to Delphi.)
You can take boat tours of the Wabash and Erie Canal on a replica canal boat. Hourly rides cost $7 for adults, $3 for kids 17 and under, and free rides for children who sit on your lap (I’m sure this does not extend to very small 14-year-olds sitting on your lap though!)
You can buy sandwiches, drinks, ice cream, and homemade pies while you’re there, and all the fair foods we’ve come to know and love.
Finally, there’s a Fourth of July Parade on Saturday, July 7 (don’t ask), and it will pass Canal Park around 10 am as it makes its way to downtown Delphi.
For more information, visit the Wabash & Erie Canal website or call (765) 564-2870.
Photo credit: Observe the Banana (Flickr, Creative Commons)