Memorial Day is an unusual holiday. What began as a day to honor soldiers who died in the Civil War eventually grew to encompass military who died in all wars. In my family, as with many others I'm sure, it is also a time to stop and remember everyone in our family - military or not - who has passed. Along with these solemn traditions, Memorial Day also has come to be the "first official day of the summer season" with a vacation day from work for many to enjoy cookouts, amusement parks and swimming pools. It's an odd combination, as is the list of activities you can attend over the three day weekend that follows. Salutes to soldiers are listed along with fun family activities.
Saturday, May 25
Locust Lake State Park program shelter at 1:30 pm
Fun for the whole family! Shine only.
Bears of the World
Locust Lake State Park program shelter at 4 pm
Learn more about bears from a park naturalist
Bats: Fact and Fiction
Locust Lake State Park amphitheater at 6 pm
Learn all about bats and the odd myths that surround them.
Sunday, May 26
Fish for Free Day
Locust Lake State Park program shelter from 9 am to noon
No license needed. Some poles and tackle available, Bring your own bait. Shine only. There will also be a Fish for Free Day at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park.
Salamander Stealth Walk
Locust Lake State Park amphitheater at 1:30 pm
Bring a container to hold animals you capture to identify (and then release).
Memorial Day Program
Veterans Memorial, Mahanoy City at 2 pm
Includes performance by Upper Schuylkill Marching Band
St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 215 N. Warren Street, Orwigsburg from 7-8 pm
Monday, May 27
Memorial Day Parade
Valley Street, New Philadelphia at 8 am
Followed by a program at town square.
Memorial Day Mile
CACL, Pottsville at 8:45 am
Locust Lake State Park program shelter at 9:30 am
Bring the kiddies to learn about the most lovable insect ever!
Memorial Day Program
Veterans Memorial, Washington & Main Streets, Shenandoah at 9 am
Memorial Day Program
Old White Church, Cemetery Hill Road, Ringtown at 10 am
Memorial Day Program
Parade through Schuylkill Haven at 10 am
Followed by Program on Parkway, Breakfast at High School from 7-10 am
Locust Lake State Park parking lot at 10:15 am
This 8.5 mile hiked is rated difficult. Bring a lunch and your dog if he is leashed and friendly to people AND other dogs. Shine only.
Memorial Day Parade
Walnut Street, Ashland at 11 am
Followed by service in St. Charles Borromeo Church
2nd Annual Hero Hustle
Orwigsburg Fire Department from noon to 3 pm
Vietname Veterans Memorial, near Penn State Schuylkill Campus entrance at 1:30 pm
Memorial Day Service
Vietnam Veterans Joseph C. Cappell Memorial Home, Schoentown at 2 pm
Memorial Day Concert
Sweet Arrow Lake County Park large pavilion from 6 pm to 8 pm
Bring your lawn chair or blanket to enjoy this free outdoor concert featuring M&J Big Band. Raindate is June 2.
Stay tuned for more additions!
"It's summertime, summertime -- sum, sum, summertime..." It isn't only the weather. Yard sale signs are popping up all over town, there is watermelon in the grocery store and my daughter has asked when we're going to Knoebels. And for the younger crowd there is the annual last day of school countdown. Of course while they're counting down, parents are asking themselves "What now?" If you're one of those parents (or grandparents) why not check out some of the fun summer camps happening in the next few months.
Libraries, always a great place for kids are stepping it up with great summer reading programs. This year's theme is Summer Quest: a Universe of Stories. Along with reading logs and end-of-the-summer prizes and parties, there are special events and speakers throughout the summer. So even if your child isn't a big reader, chances are they'll find something to enjoy at the library. Some libraries are also running lunch programs to make up for the healthy lunch children would normally receive during the school day. Both programs are starting on June 17 in the Pottsville Library. Contact your local library to see what they have planned.
Penn State Schuylkill Campus will be hosting their Kids College this year for kids in Grades 1 to 4 or Grades 5 to 8. Classes run from Monday to Friday and there are two classes in each session: morning class from 9 am to noon and afternoon class from 1 pm to 4 pm. There are three sessions in June (10-14, 17-21, 24-28) and two sessions in July (15-19, 22-26). Subjects range from coding to engineering to Harry Potter to creative writing. Register by May 25 for a discount. Learn more here.
Tuscarora State Park will be hosting the new Discover E Camps. These mini camps (just three days) focus on the outdoors so dress appropriately. Just $20! There is a separate camp for each age group.
Hide 'n Seekers for ages 4-5 is July 8 - 10 from 9 am to 11 am. Outdoor Explorers for ages 6-8 is August 5-7 from 9 am to 11 am. Penn's Adventures for ages 9-12 is July 22-24 from 9 am to noon. You can register now at 570-467-2404.
Schuylkill County Council for the Arts is holding art related camps that are focusing on "going green" there is one Seedlings Camp for ages 3-5 and a variety of camps for ages 6-9 and 10-14. There are two sessions with each session running two weeks ( June 17-27 and July 22-Aug 1). Classes are held from 9 am to 11:45 am. There's a little bit of everything to choose from: guitar, drumming, pottery, sculpture, vocals, puppetry, mixed media and more. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill Haven is also holding a summer program every Wednesday from 9 am to 11:30 am for ages 7-13 from July 10 through August 14. You can register for just one Wednesday or all six. Learn more and register here. For the 3 to 7 year old crowd there is a Tiny Tots Camp from June 24 - June 27 from 9 am to noon. Learn more here. You can also check out periodic art classes for the young crowd throughout the summer here.
Are you in a musical mood? The Schuylkill Choral Society will be performing on Sunday, May 19 at 3 pm at the Schuylkill Haven High School auditorium. The Moon and Stars Concert promises to have plenty of surprises -- it is described as "Songs of adventures and dreams and love from Sinatra to Coldplay" Sounds like there'll be something for everyone! Tickets are $18 and $12 for seniors and students.
Music lovers should also grab their calendars and block out every Thursday this summer for a great musical performance at the annual Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce Concert Series. The concerts are at the Tamaqua Railroad Station from 6:30 pm to 8 pm. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy music and the great outdoors. The series starts a day early -- the first concert is on a Wednesday -- May 29 -- and features the Cressona Band.
If you're more in the mood for some laughter and adventure, the Majestic Theater is having a free showing of 102 Dalmatians on Wednesday, May 22 at 10 am.
Festival...it's such a fun word, isn't it? And so many possibilities -- art festivals, food festivals, storytelling festivals, balloon festivals, history festivals, book festivals, insect festivals. There's a festival for everything if you just search long enough. Of course you won't have to search too long to find three great festivals happening in our area!
First up is the T-102 Appalachian Festival at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds on May 18 from 11 am to 6 pm. Along with samples of wine, beer and spirits there will be musical performances, food and craft vendors and much more. Bring your lawn chairs, canopies, blankets so you can get comfy and enjoy the day. Advance tickets are $20 or $25 at the gate, with $10 tickets for designated drivers/underage/non-drinkers. Children 12 and under are free. Snag your tickets to the festival here.
If you're in the mood for a one of a kind event (after all, how many other festivals involve human sized, walking sausages?) stop by the Kielbasi Festival in Shenandoah on May 18 from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free and you can find food (especially the BIG THREE Kielbasi makers from Shenandoah), crafts, music and fun on the Main Street. There's also a Kielbasi Contest for anyone who makes their own Kielbasi! To learn how to enter, please call the DSI office at 570-462-2060.
Feeling arty? Shamokin is hosting the Anthracite Heritage Festival of Arts on Saturday, May 25 from 10 am to 5 pm. Downtown Shamokin will be offering train rides, live entertainment, ethnic food, crafters and more.
About two decades ago (was it that long?!) a favorite with both my kids and their grandparents was the Bear Creek Festival at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds. Sponsored by the Schuylkill Conservation District, this free festival is still going strong. This year the festival is on June 2 from noon to 4 pm. It's a great day full of activity, learning and fun. There are animals, a fishing derby, hikes, workshops to make everything from t-shirts to birdhouses. Take my word for it -- great fun for the whole family!
I have the BEST son-in-law! He bought me plants for Christmas...well actually a gift card to an online nursery. If your son-in-law got you something lame like a sweater you need to head to one of the upcoming local plant sales!
If your know someone who likes purple or lavender or donkeys or bees you should introduce them to the Hope Hill Lavender Farm on the Panther Valley Road outside of Pottsville. They're open April through December (check the exact days and hours here) but you can come to their special Mother's Day Plant Sale on Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12. You can buy all types of lavender (do you know there are different varieties for eating, smelling and turning into essential oils?) not to mention lavender soap, oils, chocolate, tea and more. Wear sturdy shoes - no flip flops - so you can explore the farm and maybe snap a photo with an irresistible donkey.
The South Schuylkill Garden Club is holding their annual Plant Sale on May 18 from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm. In my experience, show up early for the best variety! All plants are grown locally by the club's members so you know they will thrive in your garden too. The sale will be held at the Senior/Recreation Center on Haven Street, Schuylkill Haven.
Hawk Mountain will holding their bi-annual Native Plant Sale on Saturday, May 18 from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday, May 19 form 10 am to 2 pm. They offer a little bit of every thing: from trees to vines to flowers. They also do a great job of separating them into areas -- plants that like shade are grouped together, wetlands are together, sun lovers are together. It's tough to predict exactly what will be available but you can visit their website here and take a peek at last year's list. They will give you all the advice you need AND help you haul your plants to your car!
Need a little help making sure all these plants you purchase become beautiful in your backyard garden? Why not consult the Master Gardeners for a little advice? You can call the Master Gardeners Help Line at 570-622-4225 Ext. 23 or email email@example.com Don't be discouraged if you have to leave a phone message -- a Master Gardners will usually get back to you within a week. Just give as much information as possible: your name, address, phone number and lots of details about your plant problem. You can also stop by the office at 1202 Ag Center Drive on Mondays and Wednesdays (except for holidays) from 10 am to 1 pm through October. If it helps bring a sample or photo of a plant that is having trouble.
Normally, I'm not a fan of sequels but some are great fun and put a new twist on the story. Mary Poppins Returns is one of those sequels! If you missed it when it was in theaters, now is your chance to catch it at the Majestic Theater on Saturday, May 11 at 7 pm. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the free show includes popcorn. You can also buy candy to enjoy during the show.
Which is the most common type of cancer? My guess was breast cancer but I think that was because breast cancer gets lots of publicity. According to the National Cancer Institute the most common type of cancer is one that is barely on the radar for many people -- skin cancer. The good news is that the screening for skin cancer is easy and painless. Basically, it's a medical professional checking your skin for irregular freckles, moles, sunspots or growths and recommending additional treatment if needed.
Your skin is your largest organ and covers about 22 square feet...that's a lot of space for skin cancer to grow. So why not get it checked? There are two free skin cancer screenings this month. The first is at Geisinger Frackville, 701 West Oak Street on Thursday, May 9 from 1 pm to 3:45 pm. Appointments are required on a first come basis so call now. Call 1-800-275-6401 and when prompted say Dermatology.
The next screening is on Saturday, May 18 at Lehigh Valley Hospital Schuylkill, E. Norwegian Street. 700 E. Norwegian Street, Pottsville from 9 am to 11 am. Report to the Same Day Surgery reception area for screenings (if using the parking garage elevator take 2H). Appointments are not required.
Sadly, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and has been rising in recent years. With these increases, there is a greater chance that your life will be touched by suicide. On Thursday, May 9 a free program will be be hosted at the McCloskey School of Nursing first floor multi-purpose room at 6:30 p.m. about suicide prevention. Question. Persuade. Refer will help people recognize when a friend or family member is considering suicide and how to react.
Documentary maker Kevin Hines is shining a light on suicide and the effects that positive actions can have on those touched by it. A free showing of "The Ripple Effect" will be held at the Majestic Theatre on Wednesday, May 15 at 2 p.m. For more information, call 570-628-2833.
One way to work through your own problems is to help others with theirs. If you want to get involved in the community, why not participate in the Captain Jason B. Jones Memorial Day of Caring on May 10. You can create your own project or help out with something already organized. For more information about the possibilities, contact 570-622-6421 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaker Ginger Lawrence, a former US Marine from Texas, speaks about her journey from war and darkness to peace and joy in her talk "Deeply Rooted" at the "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" luncheon sponsored by the Pottsville Christian Women's Club. Held at the Grace Evangelical Free Church, 101 Graeff Street, Cressona on May 14 at 11:30 am, the day will also feature a friendship tea, photo booth as well as vendors. Tickets are $15. For reservations call Gale at 570-527-2224 or Michelle at 570-617-3896.