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Lockport sets Erie Canal opening celebration Saturday

Erie Canal enthusiasts in Lockport will gather Saturday for activities to celebrate the May 17 opening of the canal's 195th navigation season.

John McKee, the chief operator of the locks at Lockport since 2016, will become the 14th recipient of the Niagara County Historical Society's annual Key to the Locks Award at 3:30 p.m. in the Erie Canal Discovery Center, Church and Ontario streets.

McKee helped develop the content of the redeveloped museum at the locks, which opened last year.

The fourth annual costumed re-enactment of a locally famous 1897 photo of the lock tenders of that day will follow at 5 p.m. on the stone steps below Canal Street.

This week, Youngstown sculptor Susan Geissler will send to a foundry the first four of 14 planned bronze statues of the people depicted in the photo, to be installed this fall. The remaining 10 figures are to be completed in 2020, said David R. Kinyon, president of the Locks Heritage District Corp.

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