It's time for the fair! The 33rd annual Schuylkill County Fair starts today. This is a family (and wallet) friendly activity. Admission is just $5 for adults and free for children ages 12 and under. The fair opens at 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and at 11 a.m. on Tuesday and Saturday. Parking is also free.
The fair is much more than who raised the best goat or made the best strawberry jam. There are fun rides, crazy cooking contests, musical entertainment, fair royalty, fun kid contests, tractor pulls, drag racing, chainsaw artists, scavenger hunts and nature demonstrations. Check out their website, scroll down to the day you want to visit and see what sort of fun things are happening. Each day has a theme:
If attending a wine festival is on your to-do list for this summer, you're in luck this week. This Saturday, July 30 is "Taste of the Valley" a wine festival at TLC Tree Farm, 21 Harvest Lane, Hegins from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There will be food vendors, local wineries, crafters and home brewers. You can sample local beers and wines, listen to live music, take a tour of the hops yard and even enjoy a fireworks display.
Then on Saturday, August 6 Benigna's Creek Winery will be hosting Summerfest. Enjoy the festival from noon to 5 p.m. -- $10 for samplers (ID required) and $5 for designated drivers. Along with music by Power House Sound there will be delicious food, creative crafters and various vendors. Attending wineries will be:
August starts next week and with it the last of the free outdoor summer concerts at the Tamaqua Railroad Station and Heisler's Cloverleaf Dairy . The Tamaqua Railroad Staion concerts are on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- weather permitting. Coming up in August:
Escape this week's heatwave by heading to the cool breezes of the ocean, the icy cold of Alaska or the shaded beauty of a mountain forest. You'll find them all in one spot this week -- the Schuylkill Mall -- between the pages of the books at the Newspaper in Education Used Book Sale! Also, it doesn't hurt that the mall is air conditioned!
Organized by The Republican-Herald, the NIE Used Book Sale is a fundraiser to support the Newspaper in Education program for local students. Of course, it also supports local book lovers. Who can beat these prices?
Stop by from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 28, Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30. Please bring cash -- that's all they accept. It's never too late to start working on your summer reading list. Come pick up some books this week!
I remember the days of big hair and even bigger shoulder pads. If you have a longing for or even a strange fascination with the 80s, don't miss "Back to the 80s", a musical about the 80s with a soundtrack to match at the Majestic Theatre, Pottsville. The shows are on Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 31 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15, call the theatre office at 570-628-4647.
Of course a totally different take on theatre is "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet" that will be performed in the summer tradition of Shakespeare in the Park. In this case the "park" is the grounds of the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts, 1440 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville, There will be three free performances on August 12, 13 and 14 starting at 7 p.m.
Not all the fun is on the audience side of the spotlights. If you think you might want to give performing a try there will be auditions for "Almost, Maine" at the Majestic Theatre on August 28 at 2 p.m. The show is a series of short stories about people living in a tiny town in Maine -- almost Canada. Auditions are open to high schoolers through adults for the show in October. You can learn more about the show by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If your kids are the ones with the performing bug, the Majestic Theatre is hosting auditions for Seussical Jr. in August. Young performers from Grades 1 through 12 can audition for the November show. For more information contact email@example.com
The Strawberry Playhouse, Tuscarora is doing a different type of performance -- a talent show. For performers ages 8 to 17, there are five categories you can audition for: voice, dance, drama, musical instrument and specialty act. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org .net for an application and more information.
There will also be a Dream Big theater workshop for children ages 5 to 13 from August 1 to 5. The camp will run daily from 9 a.m. to noon at the Majestic Theatre. No experience needed. Call 570-628-4647 or email email@example.com
I see them on my way to and from work and even on my lunch hour, the hottest time of the day -- the runners. They make their way down city streets, along the highway's shoulder and on the rural road that winds its way past my house. I admire and am slightly in awe of them. I suppose they didn't get the "heat wave" memo. But today the weather seemed to change a bit. I didn't feel like I was swimming through air and there was even a bit of a breeze. Of course, that still won't nudge into taking a run but I may go for a hike in the cool woods behind our house. If you don't have a woods behind your house there are several hikes you can join around the county.
Wednesday, July 20
Wolf Creek Falls Hike
Meet at the north end of the Wal-Mart parking lot, Coal Creek Commerce Center at 10:30 a.m. This seven mile hike is rated difficult so bring water and a lunch. You can bring your dog if he's leashed and gets along with other dogs AND people. Robin Tracey from Tuscarora State Park will lead the hike. You must register by calling 570-467-2506.
Saturday, July 23
Swatara State Park
Meet at Sand Siding Road parking lot just off 443 in Suedberg at 10:30 a.m. This 6.5 mile hike is rated moderate and will include bridges and creeks. Bring water and a lunch and if he's leashed and gets along with other dogs AND people you can bring your dog.
If you want something different why not enter the City Cycle 17 (as in 17 miles) in Pottsville on Saturday, July 30. There's an adult race at 10 a.m. with registration from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. There's also a kid's race (just .75 mile) at 9 a.m. -- helmets required. To learn more about the races and get an entry form check out their website here.
If you want to get the kids outdoors but don't think they're up to a hike or a bike race there are two nature programs for kids this weekend. If your kids like creepy crawly things don't miss "Insects and their Cousins" at Locust Lake State Park on Friday, July 22 at 6 p.m. The free presentation is at the amphitheatre, unless it rains -- then head for the shelter next to the campstore. If insects aren't your cup of tea, maybe you'll enjoy the Indian Campfire at Sweet Arrow County Park at 7 p.m. In addition to the campfire, Dave McSurdy will be sharing Indian stories. This free activity is great for all ages, including your children.
In a few weeks our local high school marching bands will start practicing for their football game shows. As a person who at times finds walking and chewing gum a challenge, I'm amazed by people that can play music and walk. turn, twirl and more -- in perfect sync with dozens of other walking, turning, twirling musicians. If you're anxiously awaiting the return of football (and marching band) season, I have a few suggestions of some (free) music you can enjoy in the meantime.
Wednesday, July 20
Cressona Band at Tamaqua East End Park at 7 p.m. Bring your lawn chair! Raindate August 3
Thursday, July 21
The Shoreliners at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church parking lot, 35 North 9th Street, Ashland at 6:30 p.m. Bring your lawn chair! The church will also be selling ice cream sundaes starting at 5:30 p.m. so you can make this a dessert picnic!
Fred Douglas will be playing the oldies at the Tamaqua Railroad Station platform, 18 N. Railroad Street at 6 p.m. You can bring a lawn chair or blanket for the lawn or make reservations at the Tamaqua Station Restaurant (call 570-668-3800).
Saturday, July 23
Pine Grove Community Band at Veterans Memorial Park, Carbon Street, Pine Grove from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Bring your chair!
Country music with Reckless at Valley View Park, 524 gap Street starting at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, July 26
Third Brigade Band at Boone Park, St. Clair starting at 7 p.m.
The weather lately has been taking its toll on my poor garden. Except for the lawn -- and those annoying knobby things that sprout up magically the day after you mow the lawn and torture most of my family with uncontrollable sneezing. It is the saddest thing to see one of my boys come in from mowing the lawn with tears streaming down his face and an endless concert of sneezing. But there are a few gardening related things happening that thankfully don't involve mowing grass.
Garden of Art
This Saturday, July 16 (raindate Saturday, July 23) the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden (just outside of Penn State Schuylkill campus) is transforming into an art gallery. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. local artists will be displaying works inspired by nature. The Master Gardeners will also be there to answer gardening questions. This year's trial is Echinacea (you may know them as coneflowers) so come get some ideas for next year's additions to your garden.
Field to Fork
The Master Gardeners are holding their annual Field to Fork celebration at the Hope Hill Lavender Farm on Saturday, August 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year's theme is "Celebrating Pollinators". Visitors to this free event can learn about container grown vegetables and lavender growing. You can also taste fruits and vegetables that are grown right here in the county, ask the Master Gardeners questions and purchase cut flowers, produce and plants.
The Many Shades of Lawn
Need lawn help? This Master Gardeners workshop will cover everything lawn related: bees, pets, meadows and more. It will be help on Tuesday, August 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Schuylkill County Extension, 1202 Ag Center Drive, Pottsville. The fee is $8.00. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-622-4225 ext. 20.