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Towpath to the past

The Erie Canal played a major role in shaping the history and development of New York State, not only in terms of commerce, but also in transportation and development as settlers moved and began towns and shops all along the canal's route.

"We've always tried to give people that come here an idea of what life was like on the canal," said Liz Bebee of the Erie Canal Park. "We try to give them a feeling of what the old times were like along the canal."

For 15 years the park has pulled out all the stops to share a slice of that history with visitors for the annual Towpath Day celebration.

"We wanted to give people the feeling of stepping back in time," Bebee said. "We wanted to show people what life was like then with old time crafts and music and just really give people a chance to come out and enjoy the day and the park and give them a slice of history and life at that time."

With demonstration of everything from butter churning and ice cream making to dancing and basket weaving, the park was alive with life from another time.

"This gives people to see what we do first hand," Sue Hosey, owner of Lucky Stone Studio basket weaving, said. "People have been very interested in seeing what we're doing. I think it really is more about an educational process more than anything. It is a chance to let people see what we do and learn more about it."

With many of the performers and artisans in period costumes performing daily routines and tasks such as weaving and wood working, there was a lot to see and enjoy.

"It is really fascinating," Lissa Nielson said. "They have really gone all out, which is cool to see. You really feel like you are somewhere else when you walk around here."

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