December 9, 2012

Art, fun focus of annual Canal Center celebration

Delphi "Old-Fashioned Christmas" continues today.

by Amie Sites

DELPHI — Ian Root wore safety glasses as he demonstrated wood turning at the Delphi Opera House on Saturday. Root, a junior at Berea College, Berea, Ky., volunteered to demonstrate some of the crafts students at the college create during the annual “Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Canal” event in Delphi.

The demonstrations were just some of the many events at the 15th annual “Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Canal” festival hosted by the Wabash and Erie Canal Association this weekend, said Dan McCain, president of the association. It started Saturday and will continue from noon until 4 p.m. today.

Root, who is preparing for engineering by majoring in technology and applied design with a focus in artisan studies, was joined by Tim Glotzbach, director of the student craft program at Berea College.

“We feel the need to do outreach in areas where art programs are suffering from cuts,” Glotzbach said. “We like to show the importance of arts and how it’s connected to our past.”

Rena Brouwer, resident artist at the Delphi Opera House, also participated alongside Berea College in the festival on Saturday.

Brouwer taught nine-year-old Ali Lucas how to use watercolor paints. Brouwer told Lucas the difference between warm and cool colors and encouraged her to keep painting as she left the area.

“Art is important and it is something that should be available to those who want it,” Brouwer said.

Art continued throughout the event through an arts and craft fair at the Interpretive Center. Kathy Shank, Delphi, had brightly colored wreaths for sale at the event. Shank said she is retired and creates wreathes for a hobby.

“This community event brings people together,” Shank said. “Also, the canal is very important to us.”

Shank explained why she participated in the craft fair.

“It’s important for history that art continues to be created and available to people,” Shank said. “Everything is so technical now, but people have done this for generations and sharing in that is important.”

Patt Oliver, Monticello, tasted peanut brittle and caramel at the event on Saturday. Oliver attended the event with her husband, Ron, who enjoyed the leather working.

“I think a lot of what draws people to this event is the arts and crafts,” Patt said. “It’s important to focus on art.”

Other visitors toured a pioneer village, a collection of primitive buildings warmed for the occasion by fireplaces and stoves, and viewed items on display at the Canal Center ranging from artisans’ products to food.

“Christmastime is a special time of the year to highlight some of these items, log cabins warm with pot-bellied stoves and fireplaces and crafts,” McCain said.

McCain said there will be a narrated walk available at 2 p.m. today which will allow visitors to walk through history and see how the canal worked.

He added that Logansport residents might be interested to see quilting demonstrations in the newly restored Fouts Home, a building that used to be in France Park.

“We’re a volunteer-driven organization in Delphi that brings history alive,” McCain said. “People come out to have fun.”

Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or


What: Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Canal

Where: Wabash and Erie Canal Park, 1030 N. Washington St. in Delphi

When: Noon until 4 p.m. today

Why: Tours, an arts and crafts fair, meals, music and a visit from Santa Claus will take place.

Cost: Admission to Canal Park and the Interpretive Center is free.