News Department

49th Canal Day Music & Craft Festival to be held this Saturday in Wharton Borough

WHARTON BOROUGH, NJ (Morris County) – Enjoy Canal Day, an old-time country fair celebrating the innovative Morris Canal.

Wharton Borough’s Canal Day Music & Craft Festival is Aug. 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Wharton Borough. Now in its 49th year, this old-time country fair celebrates the Morris Canal and its contribution to the development of the communities along its banks.

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Spend the day listening to a wide variety of musical entertainers, free kayak rides, formal history tour of the canal, restored Lock 2 East and lock tender’s house. Other highlights include:

  • 10 of NJ’s best musical artists performing on two stages
  • Local and exotic wildlife animal show
  • Revolutionary War and Civil War reenactors, including Red Coats!
  • Shopping at more than 150 fine art and craft vendors
  • Great food and desserts provided by many local vendors and gourmet food trucks.

Morris County officials and organizations will participate:

Morris County Commissioner Director John Krickus will offer a few words during the opening of the festival at 10:25 a.m. at the gazebo.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad will display equipment, and a bomb tech will be on hand to answer questions. A Sheriff’s K9 team is scheduled to do a demonstration. Read more about the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Gannon and Hope One will be on site. is the Sheriff’s mobile recovery access vehicle offers critical support to people struggling with addiction, with the goals of preventing drug overdoses and deaths. They also offer mental health services and Narcan training. Read more about Hope One.

Morris County Mosquito Control will set up their mosquito habitat diorama to encourage residents to dump standing water, and display live mosquito samples to teach children and adults about the mosquito life cycle. “Ask an Expert” about mosquitoes and ticks! Read more about Mosquito Control.

Morris County Engineering and Transportation’s display will show how to prevent water pollution that occurs during storm water discharges and how the public can help reduce pollutants in storm water runoff and mitigate the flow. Read more about Engineering and Transportation.

Morris County Clerk’s Office will attend. The office records deeds, mortgages and liens, manages several important election functions, issues ID cards to Morris County seniors and veterans, records the military discharge records of veterans, records the trade name certificates of all non-incorporated businesses, officiates marriage ceremonies and is an acceptance office for U.S. Passports. Read more about the Clerk’s Office.

It’s all happening at Hugh Force Canal Park, 180 West Central Ave., Wharton. Admission is free; $5 off-street parking available. Visit www.canalday.org for more info and a map. Stick around for fireworks at Robert Street Park at 7:00 p.m.

Schedule of events

Great Field Bandshell Musical Performers:

10:30 a.m. to noon: Norton Smull Band
Noon – 1 p.m.: Long Hill String Band
1-2 p.m.: Sonrise Mountain Revival
2-3 p.m.: The Wag
3-4 p.m.: The Big Noise Band
4-5 p.m.: Bootleg The Band

Great Field – Special Activities:

All day: The Royal Sussex Society, 35th Regiment of Foot Living History
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Blessing of the Animals, Great Field – Spot 15 and 16 along fence line

Street Area all day activities:

Morris County Sheriff’s Department Bomb Disposal Unit demonstration
Blacksmith demonstrations by William Barrett
Robotics demonstrations, by the Roxbury High School ROXBOTIX

Park Area – Gazebo Opening Ceremony: 10-10:30 a.m.:

10 a.m. Opening ceremony with color guard, bag pipes and flag salute
10:15 a.m. History of the Morris Canal provided by The Canal Society of NJ
10:25 a.m. Morris County Commissioner Director John Krickus

Park Area – Gazebo Music Schedule:

10:30 a.m. Growing Old Disgracefully
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wallaby Tales Animal Show
1 p.m. Coo Coo Cachoo
2 p.m. Open
3 p.m. Long Hill String Band
4 – 5 p.m. Colburn & Co.

Park Area Special Activities – All day:

  • Kayak rides on the Morris Canal
  • Civil War encampment and firearm demonstration, provided by the 27th New Jersey Regiment.
  • Revolutionary War encampment and firearm demonstration by The 3rd NJ Regiment “Jersey Blues”.
  • Morris Canal narrated historical boat tour on the Morris Canal, by The Canal Society of NJ.
  • Interpretation of Morris Canal Lock 2 East and Tender’s House
  • 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Special reading of “A Full Hand,” Morris Canal Children’s Book, by the Wharton Public Library.
  • 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.: Guided historical walking tours along the Morris Canal, by The Canal Society of NJ.

For an overview of the ingenious Morris Canal, read Canal Day history: “The Morris Canal, New Jersey’s Mountain-Climbing Waterway was constructed between 1825 and 1831 and substantially modified between 1845 and 1860. It was the world’s highest climbing canal ever built at 1,674 feet, its elevation change dwarfs the Empire State Building by 624 feet. During its operation, it traveled 102 miles from the Hudson River at Jersey City to the Delaware River at Phillipsburg in a general east to west direction. The Morris Canal is listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places and is significant as a technological innovation for its time.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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