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Family fun Canal Fest offers something for everyone

Calling all aspiring Martha Stewarts: More than 350 arts and crafts vendors will soon be lining streets near you.

One of the most popular parts of the Canal Fest of the Tonawandas, the annual arts and crafts fair is back with more jewelry, candles, sculptures and trinkets. But don't rule out the festival if handmade creations aren't your cup of tea; the weeklong event, which gets started on Sunday, has more than 100 activities lined up to celebrate the Tonawandas.

Randy Fahs, secretary of Canal Fest, has witnessed the event's transformation over the past decade.

"I've seen it continue to grow and evolve into a wonderful family event, but also one that supports the civic organizations in the community," Fahs said.

Activities are stationed on both sides of the Erie Canal in an attempt to bring together North Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda.

Churches, firehouses and other nonprofit interests are set to sell everything from standard burgers and fries to vegetarian souvlaki.

While the two-day arts and crafts fair attracts "an enormous turnout," Fahs said a few midweek activities draw attention. Tuesday is parade night, and Wednesday features a car show and pay-one-price rides.

Although age might play a factor in when the crowds come out, Fahs said it doesn't decide if they can come out. Canal Fest prides itself on having a family-friendly atmosphere.

"I think that it becomes a gathering point every summer," Fahs said. "We've got a lot of people that contact us throughout the year to know when the dates are for Canal Fest -- a lot of people who have left Western New York. People who have moved away from the area will come back to visit family and friends here. It's a great opportunity for people in the community to just get out in the summertime."




WHAT: Canal Fest of the Tonawandas

WHEN: Sunday through July 22

WHERE: Main and Young and Niagara streets, Tonawanda; and Webster and Sweeney streets, North Tonawanda


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