Save the date – the 30th Annual Union Canal Days is setting up soon.

On May 18 and 19, head over to the Union Canal Tunnel Park for a day of history and local flavor. Admittance prices will be $4.00 a car, and the event will run from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday, along with a gift basket raffle. Proceeds will go towards maintaining and preserving the Park and Tunnel for future generations.

The newly-repaired tour boat Lois H. Meily will cruise down the tunnel and back for tours. Visitors on the boat will hear about the history of the canal and tunnel, which is the oldest existing in the USA.

A rare opportunity to boat on the waters of the Canal will be available on Saturday and Sunday morning, thanks to Hershey’s Cocoa Kayaks. Since boating is normally prohibited on the Canal, Cocoa Kayaks will be giving a carefully guided tour. Those interested should contact the Cocoa Kayaks office (call 717-756-7566) to secure a reservation and get more information on fees and rules. Bringing a kayak will cost $10, while rental prices range from $15 for a single and $30 for a tandem. Those looking to rent should call ahead of time and be prepared to put down a 50% deposit.

Inside the park, vendors like Sherri’s Crab Cakes, Alison’s Maple Products, and Castle Creek Farm will be selling food and household supplies, including herbs and soaps. On Sunday the Red Creek Wildlife Center will hold a presentation, starting at 11am. Update 5/1: The Wildlife Center will not be presenting as originally anticipated.

Middle school bands from Cedar Crest and Lebanon High will play on Saturday, followed by multi-instrumentalist singer-storyteller Matt Dodd and folk music group the Haylifters on Sunday. Small carnival games and play area “Pig Villa,” complete with bouncy houses, will be set up for families and children. Saturday will also see a performance by the Steitz City Players.

There will also be opportunities to learn more about non-Canal history. The 93rd PA Volunteer Infantry will be there to field questions about their upcoming Civil War Reenactment later in the summer. Additionally, actors portraying life in a 1700’s encampment will be on the grounds, demonstrating everyday routines from the olden days.

Later events in the summer include the Civil War reenactment and weekly tours on Sundays through the Union Canal Tunnel. For more information on these events, or if you’re interested in donating to the Park, visit the Lebanon County Historical Society page or contact the office.

This post has been updated with additional information.

Joshua Groh

Josh is a Cornwall native and freelancer with a love of local history and the outdoors.