CanalFest ’22 to return ‘in full force’

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ROME — Rome Rotary Club announced Wednesday that CanalFest ’22 will take place Friday through Sunday, Aug. 5, 6 and 7, at Bellamy Harbor Park.

The annual festival will take place on the Erie Canal and caps off Rome’s Honor America Days celebration. Festivities also occur the week following the popular Honor America Days Parade and Concert on the Lawn with fireworks at Fort Stanwix National Monument.

Gates open Friday, Aug. 5 at 5 p.m., and at noon Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and 7. Attendees may enjoy all the fun entertainment, rides, vendors, face painting, storytelling and culinary delights until dark, and then stay for fireworks at dusk. CanalFest is a non-smoking, non-alcoholic beverage event.

Rome Rotary Club President Stephen Mercurio said although Rome Rotary was able to host CanalFest when some COVID restrictions were lifted last summer, this will be the first year since the pandemic that the festival will be back “in full force.” The Rotary president said last year’s event was one of the most successful, with about $6,000 raised in donations, and club members and volunteers hope to top that this year.

“We added five new rides last year and new food vendors,” which will be included this year, Mercurio said. “This year we’ll have the humane society have some animals out, and traditionally, a big draw is the water ski show and fireworks.”

From noon to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, Copper City Stage will be open to local talent, Mercurio said, with an open mic both days, an improv group from Rome Community Theater, as well as some regional bands and singers.

As for old CanalFest favorites, Mercurio said the popular fishing derby will be back, along with the photo show.

There is no charge for attending CanalFest, however a donation of $1 is suggested. Rotarians will be at the gates to provide festival goers with information, and a schedule of events. All proceeds from the event go back to the community over the year in the form of Rotary donations and community service projects.

Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo said it’s good for the community to have Rome Rotary’s CanalFest event going strong, with the volunteer organization working very hard to be sure it’s an enjoyable celebration.

“CanalFest is an important part of Honor America Days, and it gives us a major event on the second weekend of festivities to look forward to every year,” Izzo said.

“We’re grateful it’s coming back in full force after the pandemic, and we hope lots of people go out and enjoy the festivities,” Izzo added.

“People are developing the mindset that they’re going to have these events to get out to, and we’re looking forward to taking part in them as well,” she said. “Rome Rotary has been steadfast in their planning — this is happening thanks to a lot of dedication from this all-volunteer group, and we very much appreciate that CanalFest has become a mainstay for more than a decade.”

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