“They used to do a muddle day event years ago,” said Ryan Newsome, cultural resources leader for the city. “We wanted to recreate it.”
Newsome is hoping the Canal Festival, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the museum on Jackson Street Extension, will become an annual event and give the public a chance to tour the museum as well as the trail.
“People who use the trail may not have been in the facility and many people who use the trail may not realize the history behind it,” said Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Kelly Manning. “It will help people learn the history of the trail, Roanoke Rapids and the community they live in.”
There will be a 5K Rockfish Run starting at 10 a.m. The top 10 finishers will receive one-year free membership to Spartan Xfit on Roanoke Avenue. Registration is $25 and participants receive a free T-shirt. The run begins at the museum and goes to Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam and back. Registration information can be found by following this link.
Throughout the day Buddy High, dressed in period attire, will tell visitors about the batteau used to transport goods through the canal while Greg Wright will be serving Rockfish muddle samples, Newsome said.
Scott Hall will have a concession stand for barbecue sandwiches which will benefit the Roanoke Rapids Youth Baseball Association.
There will be a bounce house, rock wall and face-painting as well as a fish-tossing game using toy fish. There will be four divisions for those 15 and older and 14 and under. Prizes will be awarded to the top tossers, Newsome said.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will be on hand as will the North Carolina Forest Service.
The Underground Railroad Committee will be at the event explaining the role the canal had in helping slaves escape to freedom.
Throughout the day the band Wild Country will perform.
Friends of the Canal will hold a raffle with a surprise grand prize; a one-year membership to Friends of the Canal and a signed Napoleon Hill print.
Manning credited the sponsors for making the event possible. “It really shows the community support here to the recreation department. We couldn’t do it without the sponsors. We had to have the sponsors to support us.”