Arts & Entertainment

CanalFest 2017, a Franklin Township Tradition

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EAST MILLSTONE, NJ - Do you want to have some family-friendly fun at one of the town's longest standing events? If you do, come out this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to East Millstone Park (Amwell Road & Market Street) in the East Millstone section of Franklin Township.

"CanalFest provides a unique opportunity for residents to come together and share in the gifts of our community - to eat good food, appreciate arts and crafts, enjoy music, get to know our neighbors, and help other neighbors through the support of the Food Bank," CanalFest co-chair and East Millstone resident Patti Sofran said. 

The mayor endorsed the event at this week's township council meeting

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CanalFest was born seven years ago to bring the community together around one of the township's best-known sites, the Delaware and Raritan Canal. The group responsible for organizing the event is the CanalFest Community Collaborative, whose goal is to strengthen the community by raising the profile of area businesses and community organizations, and to bring friends and neighbors together in the spirit of celebration.  

CanalFest could not be made possible without the help all of the members of its diverse volunteer core. All members of the community are encouraged to participate and share their gifts and talents, including those with various disabilities. 

Other than providing family-friendly entertainment, the event is meant to benefit the Franklin Township Food Bank (FTFB). The event is free, but a suggested donation of $10 is recommended to help the FTFB in its mission to feed those in need, in Franklin Township.  

Belinda Marie has been a volunteer for five of the last six CanalFest's and has become a true staple of the event. 

"For me, CanalFest is very important, Marie said. "Because it supports the community and it teaches we all need help at some time in our lives. If somebody with my disability or any disability can come out and serve, and give to the Food Bank, then anybody can come out and help." 

Year after year the event has grown in size and notoriety and has recently been mentioned in another publication as one of the best events in the region. 

This year’s event is dedicated to the late musician and sound engineer Eric Kvortek who recently passed away after a long battle with brain cancer. Eric was the keyboardist for The East MillSTONES (aka The STONES Band), who called the festival home and played the event several times over the years.  

Funding for the talent which will be performing at CanalFest was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State through funds administered by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission through the State/County Partnership Local Arts Grant Program. 

According to the D&R CanalFest Facebook page, the following acts will perform on three different stages:

The 2017 Delaware & Raritan Canal Festival music line-up is phenomenal! All benefiting the Franklin Food Bank! Check out the alternating sets on the Delaware (D) and Raritan (R) stages:

11:00 am Andy B.AND SoulFolk (R)

11:45 am Opening Ceremony (R)

12:15 pm Mariachi Reyes (D)

1:15 pm Lowlight (R)

2:00 pm Stereo 87 (D)

3:00 pm RocknRoll HiFives (R)

3:45 pm Motor City Revue (D)

5:15 pm End

Plus these acts running concurrently on the Sunrise Stage:

12:00 pm Laurence Hart

12:40 pm Peter Horvath

1:30 pm Mario Chamoun

2:10 pm Danielle Illario & Friend

2:50 pm James Williams & Robert Porter

3:30 pm Jager Soprano (Kristy Talorico & Friend)

Robert Mettler will give a short talk about local history during the opening ceremony and John Loos will give a talk about the canal at 1pm at the Bridgetender’s House. It is going to be an amazing 7th annual event! 

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