When he reads for fun, my teenage son leans toward fantasy and sci-fi, so local author John O'Hara isn't really on his radar. He does enjoy the story behind the stories though -- the Schuylkill County towns and places masquerading as fictional ones, the brouhaha as community leaders worried that they were one of O'Hara's characters getting up to all kinds of mischief, the fact that librarians kept OHara's novels behind the desk so they didn't fall into the wrong hands. Shocking!
These days, as they celebrate his 115th birthday, the people of Schuylkill County are feeling a little kindlier toward O'Hara. The fun starts next week but I'm giving you a heads up so you have time to read a few of his short stories and novels before the celebrating begins.
Wednesday, January 29
"The Pioneer Hep-Cat"
Schuylkill County Historical Society from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Come for a dramatic reading and discussion of this short story about the Jazz Age. Tickets are $5 for SCHS members and $10 for non-members.
Thursday, January 30
Appointment at Samarra
Pottsville Free Public Library at 6 pm
A discussion of O'Hara's first novel about the infamous Gibbsville.
Friday, January 31
John O'Hara Birthday Party
Pottsville Free Public Library from 1 pm to 4 pm
Come for cake and the announcement of the bookmark and writing contests.
Pressed Coffee & Books, Mahantongo Street, Pottsville from 5 pm to 7 pm
There will be live jazz, a reading of "The Coffee Pot" and a specialty non-alcoholic drink inspired by the Jazz Era - the Butterbeer Latte. You can also sign up to join February's John O'Hara book club.
Saturday, February 1
John O'Hara Trolley Tour
Meet at the Schuylkill County Historical Society from 10 am to noon
Tickets are available at Schuylkill County Historical Society and Pottsville Library, tickets are limited. Tickets are $5 for SCHS members and $10 for non-members and include light refreshments at Pressed Coffee & Books.
Majestic Theater at 2 pm
Free showing of the movie adaptation of O'Hara's Pal Joey followed by a discussion.
John O'Hara Cabaret
Pottsville Free Public Library at 6pm
Jazz by the Paul Miller Trio, Jazz Dancing by the Crimson Academy, performances and singing by members of Theatre Junction. Sample foods from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Tickets are $25 per person.
Helping Your Local Library Is As Easy As Pie 🥧
If you stop by the Pottsville Library for some John O'Hara celebrating, take time to order your sweetheart a Deppen Pie from the Valentine's Day Fundraiser. Pies must be ordered by February 6 and pick up is February 19 (after noon). The 8" pies are $12 and come in the following varieties: Blueberry Crumb, Apple Crumb, Strawberry/Rhubarb Crumb, Double Crust Cherry, Peach Crumb, Double Crust Apple, Shoofly, Coconut Custard, Lemon Sponge, No Sugar Apple. Pies can also be ordered at the following local libraries: Ashland Public Library, Orwigsburg Public Library, Shenandoah Area Public Library, Tamaqua Public Library, Tower Porter Library and Tremont Area Public Library.
It seems the months of January and February are traditionally the months that local wineries close up shop (or at least have limited hours). But for all you wine lovers, there is one great opportunity to explore local wines this month: Corks & Chocolate. This is a great way to get a jump on Valentine's Day if your sweetheart is a wine lover. Corks & Chocolate will be happening at the Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill Haven on Saturday, January 25 from 2 pm to 5 pm.
Along with samples from local wineries and restaurants, there will also be chocolate and cheese. art displays and an Alcohol Ink Demonstration.
Some of the local wineries participating are:
Those attending must be 21+ . Tickets are $40, $30 in advance and $10 for designated drivers. Online tickets can be purchased here
The Walk In Art Center will be hosting another celebration of spirits one month later on Saturday, February 22 from 2 pm to 5 pm. And only 250 tickets are available for Our Haven Foundation Craft Brew Festival 2020 so get your ticket now!
Some of the participating breweries are:
Those attending must be 21+ . Tickets are $35, $30 in advance and $10 for designated drivers. Online tickets can be purchased here
Our weather has been unpredicatable -- unseasonably warm for the time of year followed by a snow storm just a few days later. Quite the rollercoaster! When we're enjoying some of the good stretches, why not give winter hiking a try? Hikes are scheduled in January and February, but for good weather only. Check the phone number after each hike for keeping track of if a hike is canceled.
Gold Mine Mountain Special
Sunday, January 19 from 9 am to 1 pm
Meet at the Game Commission parking lot across from Boxcar Rocks on Gold Mine Road for this 5 mile hike rated easy. There's plenty to see on this dog friendly hike with Sojourner Steve: abandoned mines, old railroads, reservoirs and even stagecoach roads. 717-451-7042
Shenandoah Kilbo Trail Hike
Saturday, January 25 from 10:30 am to noon
Meet at East Centre and Bowers Streets for this 2 mile hike rated easy. Hiker Jim E. will lead this hike of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. 570-527-7748
Broad Mountain Bench Trail
Saturday, February 1 from 9 am to 1 pm
Meet at Mt. Pleasant Hose Company, Route 901 for this 7 mile hike rated easy. Led by Hiker Jim E, this hike will include Old Ashland Extension and Centre Turnpike. Dog friendly. 570-527-7748
Big Lick Mountain Adventure
Sunday, February 16 from 9 am to 1 pm
Meet at Dollar General Store, Route 209, Williamstown for this 6.5 mile hike rated moderate. Sojourner Steve will lead a hike where you can enjoy the Williamstown Tunnel, Big Lick Slope, and Big Lick Water Level Tunnel. Dog friendly. 717-451-7042
Sunday, February 16 from 2 pm to 4 pm
Meet at the large pavilion near Sweet Arrow Lake County Park clubhouse for this leisurely stroll. Retired Forester Frank Snyder will lead a fun stroll and opportunity to learn about the forest ecosystem and man's activities.
D&L Trail Meander
Saturday, February 22 from 9 am to 2 pm
Meet at Route 54 and Morea Road to carpool to D&L rail trail in Jessup. Hikers can select how long and how challenging a hike they want. Hiker Jim E. will lead you on a macadam trail. 570-527-7748
Cabin Fever Walk
Saturday, February 22 from 10 am to 11 am
Meet at new Waterfall Road Pavilion, Sweet Arrow Lake County Park for this 2 mile hike rated moderate. Porcupine Pat will help cure your Cabin Fever!
Fire and Ice Winter Fest
Sunday, January 26 from 2 pm to 5 pm at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park
There are activities indoors and outdoors but dress for the weather. Some of the events include cooking hot dogs over an open fire, homemade ice cream making, chili cook-off, demonstration by the Schuylkill Haven Dive Rescue & Recovery Team, musical entertainment and more. Admission is free although some activities have a fee.
Sunday, February 2 from 11 am to 2 pm at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park clubhouse
Grover the Groundhog will make his weather predictions at 1 pm and there will also be a Groundhog Day Celebration of history, songs and stories(free); an auction and a potpie dinner. Dinner tickets are $8 and $6 for children under 12.
I remember Januarys past when I marched in the Winter Carnival Parade. That was one COLD parade. There may not be any Winter Carnival Parade now but there is still plenty of Winter Carnival fun. First up is the annual Queen's Tea with my favorite theme: The Hundred Acre Woods. The tea will be on Sunday, January 19 from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Walk In Art Center, 220 Parkway, Schuylkill Haven. Tickets are $10 per person and each princess must be accompanied by an adult. Princesses should also bring their favorite cup and saucer. Tickets can be purchased at Murphy Jewelers and 12 Volt Dave's. Since there are a limited number of tickets, get your as soon as you can.
The Queen Fashion Show and Yuengling Night will be held at St. Nicholas Hall, Minersville on Friday, January 24 from 7 pm to 11:30 pm. Tickets are $15 for those 21 and over and $10 for those ages 18 to 20. Music will be provided by SAPPHIRE. Snowdrop and Snowflake Fashion Shows will also be held at St. Nicholas Hall on Saturday, January 25. The Snowdrop Show will be at 1 pm and is a freewill donation while the Snowflake Show will be at 5 pm and tickets will be $5.
The Royal Pageant will be held on Saturday, February 2 at Pottsville High School at 5 pm followed by the Royal Ball from 9 pm to 11:30 pm at St. Nicholas Hall.
***Stay tuned for any changes in the schedule that may occur because of the predicted snow this weekend.
January is a month for making life changes. Are you making any life changes? Exercising? Journaling? Learning a new skill? Finally repainting that spare bedroom? Most of the time our resolutions involve changing our own life but you can also resolved to change another's life.
One of the easiest but most valuable ways you can change someone else's life is with a blood donation. After all, blood is an invaluable medical necessity and you have the amazing ability to create an endless supply. And January just happens to be Blood Donation Month. Do you have 30 minutes to spare? Then why not sign up to donate blood this month. You donation could help several patients and you get free juice and cookies. 🍪🍪🍪
You can sign up to donate here
Thursday, January 16
Jerusalem Lutheran Church, 252 Dock Street, Schuylkill Haven
12:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Friday, January 17
Fairlane Village Mall, Pottsville
11 am to 4 pm
Mt. Carmel Area High School, Mt. Carmel
8 am to 1 pm
Wednesday, January 22
Life Centre Foursquare Church, 2300 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville
2 pm to 7 pm
Saturday, February 1
Mar Lin Citizen Hose Company, 401 Maple Avenue, Mar Lin
10 am to 3 pm
Monday, February 3
Frackville Elks 1533, 307 South 3rd Street, Frackville
1 pm to 6 pm
Wednesday, February 5
Trinity Lutheran Church, 300 West Arch Street, Pottsville
1 pm to 6 pm
Thursday, February 6
Christ's United Lutheran Church, 437 Airport Road, Ashland
1 pm to 6 pm
Wednesday, February 12
Alvernia University, 1544 Route 61 Highway South, Suite 6190, Pottsville
2 pm to 7 pm
Friday, February 14
Friedensburg Fire Company, 1357 Long Run Road, Friedensburg
Noon to 5 pm
Wednesday, February 19
Mahanoy Area High School, 1 Golden Bear Drive, Mahanoy City
Noon to 5 pm
During World War II one of the nicknames for the United States military was "citizen soldiers", a nod to the fact that the vast majority of our military were not professional fighters but just regular Joes (and Janes) who halted the lives they had planned to join the fight when our nation was attacked on December 7, 1941. Sixty years later, when 9/11 brought terror to our shores once again people who had never considered the military once again heard the call to defend their country and become citizen soldiers.
For many, the first date that called people to become citizen soldiers often goes unnoticed. If you want to take some time to remember the sacrifices made then and now, join the veterans at a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Program on Saturday, December 7 at the Veterans Memorial, Centre & Catawissa Streets, Mahanoy City at 11 am.
Veterans are also invited to breakfast at Lewie's Restaurant, Lehigh Avenue, Frackville on Friday, December 6 at 7 am.
Want another way to remember the sacrifices of our military? Why not send a Christmas card to a military man or woman with local ties who won't be in Schuylkill County for the holidays. Check out this post about how to send a card or package full of Schuylkill County love here