Saturday, February 13, 2016

Decorate boat, rubber duck and take to the Delaware Canal

Three-day festival will offer events this weekend at the canal's landmark towns of New Hope, Yardley, Bristol Borough and Morrisville.

Decorate boat, rubber duck and take to the Delaware Canal

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A decorated canoe and a crocodile with Peter Pan at last year's Delaware Canal Festival. (Friends of the Delaware Canal)

Decorated and candle-lit boats and rubber duck races will take over the Delaware Canal from New Hope to Bristol this weekend, along with a concert, a movie and a restaurant and inn crawl.

The three-day festival will start 7 p.m. Friday in Bristol Borough with a Decorated Boat Parade at Lagoon Park. Individuals, groups, neighborhood, and business entries can decorate a row boat, canoe, kayak or any other vessel, with the winners of seven categories receiving cash prizes. Entry forms and categories are available on the Friends of the Delaware Canal website,, or by calling 215-862-2021 or e-mailing

There also will be a concert at the park at 700 Jefferson Ave., with Jay Smar playing traditional American and original folk and bluegrass music on guitar, banjo, and fiddle. He’ll throw in some old-time canal and coal mining songs.    

The evening will conclude with the launching of little candle-lit boats with wishes written on their sails. 

On Saturday, Yardley will host a Decorated Boat Parade at 1 p.m., followed by a Great Canal Critter Race at 3 p.m. There also will be cardboard boat building, a duck decorating contest, music, food, games, and displays by non-profit groups from noon to 4 p.m. along the towpath from Afton Avenue to College Avenue.

Rubber ducks for the race and the decorating contest cost $5 or five for $20 and available in the borough at Customers Bank, at 1 S. Main St. They also will be sold during the festival in Bristol on Friday and Yardley on Saturday.

To enter a duck in the race, drop it off at Afton Avenue by 2 p.m. Decorated ducks can be taken to the bank, where they will be displayed until Saturday, when they’ll be exhibited at the festival. The best-decorated ducks in seven categories will earn a cash prize.

Also Saturday, there will be a Canal Crawl from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. With a $10 wristband, festival-goers can stroll along Main Street and the towpath and stop at  Havana, the Logan Inn, and Villa Vito for hors d’oeuvres and other goodies.  At the Stephan House, a B&B, they can see the picturesque town and the river from the rooftop deck. 

Wristbands for the crawl can be bought at each of the stops that day or online at or www.landmarktowns

At 7 p.m. Sunday, My Name is Jeremiah, a family film telling the tale of a boy’s adventures on the Delaware and Lehigh Canals, will be shown at the Actors’ NET Theatre, 635 N. Delmorr Ave., in Morrisville. Canal-themed posters will be on display.

The festival is sponsored by the Friends of the Delaware Canal, Landmark Towns of Bucks County, and the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor. Proceeds from the festival will be used for improvements to the canal and for the Landmarks Towns program.

For more information, go to or www.landmarktowns. See Delaware Canal Festival on Facebook.

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About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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