Barge Bash returns to C&O Canal with colorful splash

by Geoff Fox

After almost a decade absence, the Barge Bash made a return to the C&O Canal and Hancock on Saturday, June 17, under blue skies.

Main Street Hancock and the Hancock Arts Council sponsored the 2023 relaunch of the Barge Bash.

Things kicked off around 2 p.m. in the municipal parking lot as Pacific Rhythm from Warfordsburg performed traditional dances from Tahiti, Fiji, Hawaii and New Zealand.

A video of one of the dances can be seen on The Hancock News website –

As Pacific Rhythm was performing, there were a number of vendors set up in the parking lot as well.

Pacific Rhythm of Needmore performed native and traditional dances from Tahiti, Fiji, Hawaii, and New Zealand in the municipal parking lot prior to the nautical parade in the canal. The dances ranged from ceremonial to love and everywhere in between.

Between the parking lot festivities and the beginning of the nautical parade, folks started to get their spots along the canal shore.

The Hancock Arts Council, pulled by one of the Hancock Girl Scout Troops, as a little fishy with a shark walking along the towpath and a sailfish on the boat.

The parade down the canal started just after 4 p.m. with Dr. Dan Murphy acting as MC and announcing each of the five entrants.

The barges coming down the canal were from Hancock Rescue Squad, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Roger Fairbourn Realty, Hancock Arts Council and Girl Scouts and the Lowe Family.

The Hancock Arts Council entrant was awarded “Judges Choice.”

Take Two took to the stage at 5 p.m., in the municipal lot for some live music followed by Steve Keith and Lost River Band performing at 6:30 p.m. to close the night.

Eric Exline, who spearheaded the Barge Bash said he was happy with how everything turned out.

Former Mayor Dr. Ralph Salvagno and his wife Tracy guide the St. Thomas Episcopal Church boat down the canal. The church’s boat carried a message of peace to the world.
The lone family entry, the Lowe Family barreled up for a trip down the C&O Canal during the Barge Bash.
Hancock Rescue Squad carried a “patient” down the canal on their boat.
Roger Fairbourn Realty isn’t selling a log cabin on a boat, just pulling it along down the C&O Canal as their Barge Bash entry.