CHESAPEAKE CITY — Just over a week after the official start of summer, racers will participate in the 11th annual Chesapeake City Canal 5K on Saturday, June 29.

The race will start at Schaefer’s Canal House and follow about 1.5 miles of the Ben Cardin Trail before turning around and returning to the restaurant on Bank Street.

Councilman Frank Vari, who helps organize this race and its New Year’s Day counterpart each year, said the Canal 5K offers attractive waterfront views.

“You have the back of the houses on one side and then you have the water on the C&D canal on the other side,” he said. “If we’re lucky enough, some tugs and ships will be going by as they’re running the race. It’s a very picturesque scenery there.”

Racers can register for $25 on until noon Thursday, June 27. After that, they can register the day of the event for $30. Children ages 11 and under can register for $12.

Day-of registration will begin at 7 a.m. and the race will begin at 8 a.m. Participants and guests can park at the Chesapeake City Volunteer Fire Company’s parking lot at Lock Street.

Proceeds from the event help fund the Chesapeake City Recycling Program, which has earned the town the title of “Top Recycling Town in Cecil County” for nine years in a row, according to Vari.

“I give all the credit to the residents of Chesapeake City,” Vari said. “They bought into the program. They bought into the idea of recycling. It took a few hits here and there, but we’re dedicated to recycling and our numbers just keep going up, up and up.”

Participants and guests are also asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item to be donated to the Chesapeake City Ecumenical Association’s food pantry.

Vari said it’s important for the town to support those in need through its events, including its annual races.

“The town of Chesapeake City tries to do as much as they can for the residents in town and different organizations … If we can help the food pantry and the CCEA, it’s a win-win,” he said.

According to Vari, each race attracts 180 to 200 racers, who bring a total of about 200 pounds of food to each race.

“It just got bigger and bigger,” he said.

Vari said that the recycling program — which collects residents’ recyclables for free once a week every week — requires about $10,000 to $12,000 per year. Between the two races, Vari said the town is able to raise the necessary funds each year.

With the school year over, Vari said the race is the perfect opportunity for families to come out and be active together.

“Both of our races are family-oriented,” he said. “We try to gear it to the families. On New Year’s Day, the families start the new year and you see a lot of families come in full force … The whole family gets into the act.”

Vari said folks can even make a day out of the event by taking a Sunset Cruise boat from the north side of town to shops on the south side. Then, when they’re ready to come back, the boat will make a return trip to their vehicles.

“In our view, Chesapeake City is the place to be,” Vari said. “That’s the reason why we call it the hidden treasure of the Chesapeake.”

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