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‘Park After Dark’ Returns

Event to raise funds for the C&O Canal

Robert and Sharon Buchanan, residents of Potomac, participate in last year’s Park After Dark.

Robert and Sharon Buchanan, residents of Potomac, participate in last year’s Park After Dark.

— The year was 1862; the Civil War was heating up all around the region. Because the C&O Canal was the boundary between the North and the South, battles and skirmishes took place all around the area. Antietam, South Mountain, Gettysburg are just a few of the conflicts where thousands were injured and killed as the South advanced and the North challenged.

The 2nd “Park After Dark” fundraiser for the C&O Canal has adopted the theme of the Civil War since 2012 is the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. The canal saw a lot of activity during the war.

“Enlist Today” is the theme for an evening that will feature a Civil War encampment and re-enactors. The Oct. 13 event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Historic Great Falls Tavern at the C&O Canal National Park in Potomac.

“A Special Evening Under the Stars” will feature plenty of “hearty rations and libations,” music by the 19th Street Band and live and silent auctions of experience packages and artwork. Park. Dress is casual; blue jeans and boots is the perfect attire.

Mary Jo Veverka, chairman of the board of directors of the Canal Trust said, “This is a unique opportunity to party in the park, after sunset with a fabulous band and great food, and to contribute important funding for our neighborhood national park. I look forward to another great crowd and fun evening.”

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Photo by John Hoover

Kevin Brandt, Superintendent of the C&O Canal NHP; U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, and Matthew Logan, president of the C&O Canal Trust at last year’s event.

This year, the William O. Douglas Award will be honor Advisory Board member Jim Norton. Norton, a resident of Sharpsburg, Md. has supported many of the restoration projects along the C&O Canal. He is also responsible for launching the C&O Canal Current Initiatives/Catoctin Aqueduct Fund.

Committee member Kirsten Quigley explains the importance of supporting Park After Dark: “It is truly a memorable event and one that I hope many people can attend this year. What makes Park After Dark so special is that unlike many fundraisers, the setting outdoors by the Tavern with a lively bluegrass band gives this event a fun historical context and appeals to so many people who cherish the Canal for its historic, recreational and natural assets. With events like Park After Dark, the Trust is doing things of great value to the community — helping to repair the breach, renovating blockhouses for the public to use, and providing much needed support to our underfunded national park."

Some of the new experience packages in the auctions include an overnight civil war package for four with a battlefield tour led by a civil war scholar with two rooms and breakfast at the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, and a half-day of clay shooting at Actor’s Hill Farm in Keedysville followed by lunch. Last year’s experience packages included kayaking and photography lessons, a hike, an archeological exploration and a canal barge ride for 15. This year, there will be a “cash donation auction” to raise funding for the park’s education programs. “This auction is an opportunity for all guests to participate in supporting a priority of the park by providing additional funding to expand the park’s capacity to accommodate more students.”

Last year’s “Park After Dark” sold out to 250 people and netted $58,000 for the C&O Canal. This year, the attendance has been increased to 300. Tickets are available for $150 per person at www.CanalTrust.org or at 301-714-2233.