A customer appreciation weekend has become a family affair in Canal Fulton.

A customer appreciation weekend has become a family affair in Canal Fulton.

Dan Hare and his sister Paulette Snyder both own businesses in town and the two joined together to offer a National Free Comic Book Day event and a customer appreciation weekend.

Hare owns The Toys Time Forgot vintage toy store and Snyder is co-owner of the Canal Fulton Canoe Livery. The two businesses, located within several city blocks of each other, worked together to create a multiple-block, weekend-long event on May 3 and 4.

Snyder offered free putt-putt golf all weekend. Unfortunately, the Tuscarawas River, which the livery uses, was too high and boaters could not get out.

“We always put safety first and, with river over its banks, we can't let anyone go out this weekend,” Snyder said. “After running the canoe livery for 15 years, we learn to go with a back-up plan. Visitors can still play putt-putt here and we have food and a dunk tank in the parking lot of my brother's toy store.”

The canoe livery also offers bike rentals, pavilion rentals and two campgrounds. Snyder said many people don't realize they offer camping.

“I'm always amazed how many people don't know we have campgrounds. There are bathrooms and showers available,” Snyder said. “We offer primitive campsites and we also allow pop-up campers to park. We are nestled perfectly between the Muskingum Trail and the Ohio Towpath so campers can bike and hike either trail. We are also close to the center of town where they can walk to get an ice cream cone.”

More activities were going on down the street at The Toys Time Forgot. The biggest attraction was the free comic book stand. People were lined up picking out their favorite comic books.

“I've been participating in the Free Comic Book Day since I opened in this location over 10 years ago,” Hare said. “It's a way to get comic books in the hands of kids and to encourage them to read.”

There were also a number of people dressed as supervillains waiting to be dropped into a big bucket of water at the dunk tank. A hot dog stand was set up and people were shopping in the store.

While the weather was unpredictable throughout the weekend, the events went on and the local community came out. Amy and Christian Triola from Norton stopped by to pick out a few comic books for their collections

“I'm an illustrator and I like the kids’ comics just to see the illustrations,” Amy said. “My husband usually collects GI Joe comics but today he selected Star Wars and Batman.”

There were many adults selecting their favorite comics along with all of the kids. Some of the kids came dressed in costumes of their favorite comic book characters.

“It's all about the kids. It's also our way of saying thank you to the community,” Hare said. “My sister and I wanted to work together to provide the community a fun weekend with plenty of activities so that everyone would have a good time.”