Old Canal Days this weekend in Lockport
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org June 14, 2012 5:04PM
Uncle Sam greets the crowd June 17, 2011, at the annual Old Canal Days Parade in Lockport, Illinois. The 2012 Canal Days is this weekend. | File photo
Updated: July 16, 2012 6:28AM
LOCKPORT — The Old Canal Days festival this weekend will celebrate Lockport’s history as a transportation center, with horse-and-buggy rides, a ship exhibit and a train exhibit.
And then there’s fun on the modern transportation corridor: Friday evening’s State Street parade, which always draws an excited crowd to downtown.
The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. on the downtown stretch of State, also known as Route 171.
Homer Tree Service is the grand marshal.
John Lamb, the local historian who founded this festival 40 years ago in 1972, will roll down the parade route in a horse and buggy.
The weekend will feature kids carnival rides and food vendors from Friday evening through Sunday.
The juried craft show has been expanded, and now will encompass three blocks — on State Street from Ninth to 12th streets — in the heart of downtown.
For the second year, the Lockport Chamber of Commerce is organizing all three days of the event. While the parade, carnival rides and craft show are popular every year, the chamber is continuing the effort to emphasize historic Lockport in the festival.
“It was important to us to bring the canal back into Canal Days,” said Mary Kay Campbell, executive director of the chamber of commerce.
The Illinois & Michigan Canal — of which Lockport was the headquarters — was dug between 1836 and 1848.
The waterway extends from Chicago to LaSalle-Peru. The canal connected the Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River watersheds, creating a vital transportation connection in America’s heartland.
On Saturday and Sunday, festival visitors can check out the “Transportation, Trade, and the Power to Connect Exhibit.”
The exhibit will feature live steam engines, a model-train display, tall-ship replicas, carriages and Model T cars.
The displays will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Lincoln Landing, which is at Ninth Street and the I&M Canal.
Just to the west, horse-and-buggy rides will be available along the historic canal.
“We brought back two this year, because it was such a hit last year,” Campbell said.
About 150 Girl Scouts will march in Friday’s parade.
So will the 36th Illinois Volunteer Infantry and the Lockport Marching Porters, from Lockport Township High School. The parade also will feature a McDonald’s red boot float.
The Lockport Township Park District — promoting World War II Days in September in Dellwood Park — returns to the parade this year.
Also on Friday, kids carnival rides will be from 5 to 11:30 p.m. at State and 10th streets.
A beer tent and food vendors will be next to the Norton Building, 201 W. 10th St.
The beer tent has a $3 admission when music begins.
The city of Lockport is a sponsor of the three-day festival celebrating a historic limestone town on a serene waterway.
“This is truly refreshing to see all the volunteers from the Lockport Chamber of Commerce and other organizations come together and embrace this event,” said Mayor Dev Trivedi.
For more information about the weekend’s events, visit