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Article Archive >> Summer Tourism

Hancock celebrates with barge bash and fireworks

Hancock celebrates with barge bash and fireworks
by William L. Bulla

If you are expecting a Barge Bash to be a demolition derby-type event on the canal, you're wrong! Instead it is a race of homemade floatable units beyond one's imagination. Previous entries have been designed to look like fire trucks, John Deere tractor, Mississippi river boats, police cars, rafts and many other unusual things not normally seen floating on the canal. The Hancock Chamber of Commerce with kick-off the fourth annual event at 3:00p.m., Sunday, July 22.
Many of these entries are constructed on flat bottom "john boats" or canoes. They will be towed by people-power, animal-power, or bicycle-power because no motorized-power is allowed. Barges will enter the water of the C&O Canal at Church Street and be pulled, pedaled or towed to the Canal Boat Ramp Bridge at Pennsylvania Avenue. Awards are given for fastest, most authentic, people's choice, most unique, ugliest and several other categories.
Entry fee is $100 per barge. "We are limiting the number of entries to 20 entries," said Lou Close, spokesperson for the event. For non-profit groups unable to afford to pay $100 entry fee, the "bash" committee allows corporation, business or individual sponsorship. These sponsors receive appropriate recognition during pre-race media coverage, mention on the Hancock Chamber of Commerce Web-Site and signage placed on sponsored barge. Groups that need sponsorship are local youth groups, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, school groups, fire and rescue, and other local organizations such as the Rotary International, Hancock Lion's Club, Interfaith Service Coalition, and the Hancock Arts Council.
Any organization or business interested in participating with the Chamber in this unique and interesting project please contact Lou Close at 301-678-5389, so the Hancock Chamber of Commerce will know how many barges you would be sponsoring. If you have employees that would like to participate or you would rather sponsor a certain individual or group, please advise, and your sponsorship will be assigned to that particular barge entry, otherwise, the "barge" committee will assign sponsors to barge entries as they are received. Entry deadline is July 1.
An hour prior to the main event, youths, age 6-18, may participate in a remote-controlled barge race. This mini-barge event for the youth, sponsored by Citizen's National Bank, is comprised of entries of miniature model barges not exceeding 6x24-inches. Youths interested in participating should contact Dave Hott at 301-678-6026 for information concerning entry applications. There is no entry fee for this event.
The National Park Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will have displays and information on the C&O Canal and the Western Maryland Rail Trail. Visitors will have an opportunity to learn more about this quaint town nestled at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland along the banks of the Potomac River. Hancock, a crossroads for several highways, is easily accessible to Interstates 70 & 68 and U.S. Routes 522 & 40. It is minutes away from the borders of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Bicyclists, skaters, walkers, joggers, and nature lovers utilize the C&O Canal towpath and the Western Maryland Rail Trail, both just parallel to Hancock's Main Street.
The Hancock Chamber of Commerce will wrap up the day with a fireworks display to be held in Widmeyer Park. "People planning to attend are urged to bring folding chairs because of limited number of benches in the park," Close said.

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