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Medina was happy to host Glass Barge, replica canal schooner

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Glass blower Helen Tegeler holds a shield next to Lukas Milanak’s arm to protect him from 1,000-degree glass while he shapes a glass vase. He must keep it turning at all times to maintain its shape. They are doing their demonstration on the Corning Glass Museum’s barge in Medina on Sunday.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 13 August 2018 at 3:44 pm

MEDINA – Fair weather and two historic boats are credited with bringing a crowd of people to Medina’s canal basin this weekend.

Events began with the arrival on Thursday of the schooner Lois McClure and the Corning Glass Museum Barge. The two boats have been traveling together this summer to ports along the canal from Brooklyn to Buffalo in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal.

Both boats drew a multitude of visitors Saturday and Sunday.

Glass blower Helen Tegeler shows two apples she created on the Corning Glass Museum barge as a gift to the village of Medina.

The crew of the Lois McClure, a replica of an 1800s’ schooner, welcomed visitors aboard to see how crew members would have lived on such a boat.

On the Corning Glass Museum barge, visitors watched a half-hour demonstration on glass blowing, while announcer Stephanie Perry explained the process.

One of the visitors was Sally Prakapas of Michigan, who saw the Corning glass demonstration on a cruise ship.

“In fact, glass blower Helen Tegeler was working on the ship and told us they were going to be in Medina,” Prakapas said. “I owed a grandson a vacation, so we decided to go to Corning and stop in Medina on the way to see the glass barge again.”

Prakapas arrived in Medina on Saturday and the first thing she did was visit the Culvert, she said.

“That was pretty awesome,” she said. “This is a beautiful town and I plan to come back and bring my husband.”

Alaina Wilson, who started the fundraising to build a dog park in Medina, takes a turn in the dunk tank, which was set up in Medina’s canal basin over the weekend to raise money. The $500 earned in three hours on Saturday far exceeded her expectations, she said.

Another highlight of the weekend was a dunk tank, featuring local politicians and notables, including the captains of the Lois McClure and the Corning Glass Museum Barge. Money raised will help build a dog park in Medina. Leonard Oakes provided wine tastings each day and a food truck served up barbecue.

Two local favorite bands entertained each afternoon, and crews of both boats said visitors to their vessels was a record.

Dawn Borchet with Orleans County Tourism said T-shirts they were selling were very popular, with the words “Barge into Medina. Get that Erie feeling.”

The Lois McClure and glass barge will continue their journey, heading down Seneca Lake to Watkins Glen, Stephanie Perry said.

Dawn Borchers, director of the Orleans County Tourism Department, displays one of the T-shirts they sold in Medina’s Canal Basin during the visit of the schooner Lois McClure and the Corning Glass Museum barge.

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