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'Canal Splash' keeps history afloat

Mantello, who previously served as the executive director for the Hudson River Valley Greenway, used the Hudson River Valley Ramble as an example to follow when organizing the Canal Splash. She said creating a similar event to support the Canal System was "one of the things I really wanted to do. It will be the celebration of the history, the culture, the recreation and the other amenities offered along the canalway."

The events are geared to be family friendly with fun for all age groups. If you are going to be in the Schuylerville area, think about making time to watch the Cardboard Boat Races or stop off at General Philip Schuyler's House for a glimpse of life in the 18th century. Over 25 artisans will provide demonstrations of 18th-century crafts. The Champlain Canal Tours will also offer riverboat tours.

In Schenectady County, stop by Freedom Park for free musical concerts or take part in a learn-to-ski water clinic behind Jumpin Jack's in Scotia. History buffs can participate in a revolutionary bike tour while nature enthusiasts can check out eagles with staff from the Department of Environmental Conservation's Five Rivers Environmental Education Center.

In Rensselaer County, people can take a two-hour walk through Oakwood Cemetery with military historian Michael Barrett. In Albany County, head to Peebles Island State Park which provides great views, walkways, and a museum that is open to the public.

"It is a fantastic place for the young and the senior citizens," said Mantello of Peebles Island.

Mantello suggested that people check out the Web sites, www.johnnymilleradventures.com or www.canals.ny.state.us for information about event dates, times, and costs. Some events are free; some have a fee. The Web sites offer details of events occurring out of the immediate area for those who wish to travel to other parts of the Canal System. Mantello suggested the Finger Lakes region as several wineries have partnered with cruise lines to provide special offerings. Another out-of-area event that would likely be of interest would be several fishing derbies in the Oswego area.

"There is so much history along the canal," said Mantello. "We need to keep that history alive." ""

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