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Lockport calls Old Canal Days a success

Food Network showed up

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014 11:12 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Christine Muilenburg for Shaw Media)
Bill Molony, president of the Blackhawk Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society for 14 years, gives a tour of the Symerton Train Station on Sunday during Old Canal Days in Lockport. Molony, who grew up on the Southside of Chicago, is a history buff and has been a “rail fan” for as long as he can remember.

LOCKPORT – Last weekend’s Old Canal Days is being called a success and even attracted the attention of the Food Network.

The city, which ran Old Canal Days this year, is hoping Lockport’s annual summertime festival will become a regional draw for the Chicago area. Getting some time on the Food Network can’t hurt.

The Food Network was at the food truck court during Old Canal Days, which ran June 12-15, and did some filming for a show.

Free tours of the Hydraulic Power House on the shipping canal were a popular new addition to the festival, organizers said.

Feedback in general was positive, with some saying it was the best Old Canal Days in years, said Jodi Herman, festival organizer and administrative assistant for the city of Lockport.

“People commented that they enjoyed the music selections this year,” she said. “We had great crowds both nights, plus the weather was a huge influence on our crowds. The weather was beautiful.” 

Lockport Mayor Steven Streit agreed the festival went well.

“Some of it had to do with citizen input,” he said.

Many residents who participated in the planning and execution of the event contributed to its success, he said. Streit said if people want the festival to be successful in the future, they should try to participate. He encouraged residents and all other interested parties to contact him at streit@lockport.org to learn how to get involved.

Old Canal Days offers food and entertainment while adding insight into Lockport history as one of the major cities along the 19th century construction route for the Illinois & Michigan Canal.

The tours of the Hydraulic Power House along the newer Chicago Sanitary & Shipping Canal were very popular, Herman said.

She said some people asked for more tours than were available. Herman said she hopes the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District makes those tours available again next year.

This year, city officials said they wanted the festival to attract more visitors from the Chicago area and increase the city’s profile in the region. Herman said people from the northern Chicago suburbs came to the event and said they would be back.

“They loved the history, the food and entertainment and all the exhibits,” she said. 

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