Saturday, September 8th, 2012
11 a.m.—5 p.m.
Harding Street, at Kelley Square
Exit 13 or 14 off of Rt.290
Fall is the time for festivals in New England, and Saturday, September 8, will see one of the most exciting of them all – right on Harding Street at Kelley Square, in Worcester’s Canal District, directly accessible from Rte. I-290. And it’s free!
The seventh annual Blackstone Canalfest will be a classic street festival complete with music, entertainment, vendors, food, an abundance of kids’ activities, horse-and-wagon rides, kayak rides, historic as well as current canal project information, a gigantic raffle and much, much more. At the center of the festival will be an actual, re-created segment of the canal, 75 feet long filled with over 4,500 gallons of water, recalling the era when it served as a cargo waterway to the sea. The musical headliner will be R&B powerhouse Valvatross, appearing at 3 p.m.
Canalfest 2012 has a dual purpose: To celebrate the renaissance that is occurring in the district and to promote public awareness of the Blackstone Canal Replication Project itself. Food vendors will be drawn from the wealth of local restaurants, entertainment will reflect the multi-ethnic heritage of the district, and information booths will promote the historical theme of the canal. Most importantly, however, the purpose of the Canalfest is good, clean family fun; and with street performers, multiple children’s activities, horse-and-wagon rides, and food and entertainment galore, it stands to accomplish just that. In this its sixth year, it is organized and presented by the Canal District Alliance.
The Blackstone Canal connected the City of Worcester to Providence and the sea in the first part of the 19th century, catalyzing economic growth in the city and hastening the advent of the railroads. It was covered over in the 1890s, but its waters still flow underneath Harding Street. The intent of the canal replication project is to use the “unearthed” canal as the focus of a new, mixed-use neighborhood and visitor destination in what is once again referred to as the Canal District.
Canalfest 2012 will celebrate the rebirth that is already happening in this historic neighborhood, moving this year to a new location at Kelley Square. Once again, it will recreate a portion of the historic waterway along Harding Street, and it will give all participants a taste of the vitality that characterizes Worcester’s fastest-growing entertainment district. It will be free, it will be festive, and most of all, it will be fun.
Parking will be available for $1 at the Union Station Parking Garage, in addition to abundant street parking.