19th century Pennsylvania was crisscrossed with canals the same way that four-lane highways crisscross the state today. And like highways of today, canals 150 years ago were vital to the security of commerce and the spread of people in the commonwealth. During this unsung period of Pennsylvania’s history, Newport was a stop on the Juniata Canal. Every October for one Saturday, this small town celebrates their canal heritage and town spirit with the annual Newport Canal Day.
Relatively new and intimately small, Canal Day is a little gem of a festival. The festival opens with a spirited pep rally led by the local high school band, athletes, and cheerleaders. There are a handful of craft and art vendors and a slew of non-profit booths. This is the type of festival where the burden of food is exclusively and happily born of churches and local clubs! Live music from the grand stage can be heard throughout the whole festival and clowns entertain the crowds. The Louise Beard Memorial and Museum opens its doors to the public for the festival and there is an auction to support the local revitalization society.
Canal Day only runs from 9:00 am till 2:00pm, which is more than enough time to stop and see every vendor and all the bands. While Canal Day doesn’t show any signs of growing bigger, this is a wholesome and genuine festival sure to make for a great day trip. Admission is free and parking is limited.