Rae's Creek Revival played on an Augusta Canal music cruise in April 2022. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
Rae's Creek Revival played on an Augusta Canal music cruise in April 2022. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Music cruises, discovery day, new tours set for Augusta Canal in April

The Augusta Canal is back to full pool after being drained for maintenance, just in time for multiple April activities.

Coming up April 15 is the second annual Canal Discovery Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We try to align it with the National Parks Service week,” said Julianna Shurtleff, Augusta Canal National Heritage Area education program director. “We are affiliated with the National Parks Service.”

The turnout for last year’s inaugural event was better than expected, she said.

“We had about 1,000 people attend,” she said. “We were very excited. It even rained in the morning.”

Canal Discovery Day will feature a variety of activities for all ages.

Children can learn to fish at the Augusta Canal Discovery Day on April 15. Courtesy photo

Entertainment includes Rae’s Creek Revival, Caleb Aiken and Kendra Allsup of the Augusta Junior Players who will be performing selections from the group’s recent show, We Are Monsters.

 Several authors will be on hand to sign books including Stan Byrdy, Bill Patterson and Kelli Spearman.

 There will be fishing lessons, children’s gardening activities, a petting zoo and ham radio demonstration with members of the CSRA Emergency Radio Club.

 Petersburg Boat Rides will be available for $5.

All events are free except for the boat rides.

Also, tours of the Canal Discovery Center which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in April, will be available.

Shurtleff said many people, who walk along the Canal towpath or kayak on the Canal itself, are unaware of the discovery center museum.

On April 29, the discovery center will launch a new immersive tour called “Canal to Cloth” as part of the “Authentic Augusta Experience” promoted by Destination Augusta.

The Canal played a vital role in the history of the textile mills in Augusta. The Discovery Center itself is located in the former Graniteville Company’s Enterprise Mill. Living history interpreters will give tour-goers a glimpse into the life of textile worker.

“Various characters will show you the process of turning raw cotton into cloth: preparation, spinning, weaving and finishing, including the workings of an authentic loom,” according to the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area website.

The tour will be offered twice a month.

Another series of events beginning in April are the Moonlight Music Cruises, which combine a leisurely Petersburg Boat ride on the Augusta Canal with performances by local musicians. The weekly series kicks off April 21 with performances by The Henrys. Cruises are held each Friday through the end of June before taking a break in July and August and returning in September.

There’s limited space in the Petersburg boats, so Shurtleff encourages people to book early. They often sell out.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com

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