I did something new this week. I made blueberry pie! Who could resist with all this local fruit at the farmer's market? If you've been taking advantage of all the great offerings from our local farmers you should check out a special contest at the Schuylkill County Fair. Schuylkill County Grown Cooking Contest asks entrants to make a delicious item using at least three ingredients grown in Schuylkill County (eggs count). You can even use ingredients that you grew in your own garden. I have this great recipe for Lavender Honey Scones and lavender in my garden. Now all I need is some local honey and eggs and I'm set. Hmmm. There are two categories. Adults (over age 18) have to bring an entry that is prepared in a slow cooker while youth can make a quick bread -- loaf, muffins or cake. So I guess my pie is out! The deadline to register for this contest is July 29 so get out your recipes.
If you like to cook there are plenty of other cooking contests at the fair for adults and kids but if cooking isn't your think you're sure to find something that appeals to you. Flowers, vegetables, animals, photography, painting, sewing, Christmas ornaments, just about anything you can think of will be there. This is a great way to stave off the "I'm bored" cries from your kids as we near the mid-point of summer. Check out Department 19 in the Premium Book online here.
Even if you aren't entering a contest, the Schuylkill County Fair is July 31 through August 5 at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds and is a fun time for the whole family -- entertainments, crazy contests, food, rides, animals and more. It's just $5 to enter and children under 12 are free. What a deal for the whole family! Stop by and see what your neighbors have cooked up.
With the longer days of summer, everyone wants to be out and about. Luckily, there are plenty of "out and about" events to choose from this week if you're an art and music lover. One of my favorites is the Allied Artists Annual Show and Sale which opens on Saturday, July 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 2300 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville. You can visit each day through Saturday, July 22 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with additional hours of 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 16. In addition to the works of arts entered in the show, prints, notecards and more will be on sale for those who want to take a bit of art home with them. The featured artist is Helen Mills.
The Walk-In Art Center will also be opening a new artist exhibit on Thursday, July 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Come see the art of Mark Sassani, a Pennsylvania Realist known for his beautiful landscapes of the Keystone State. The exhibit will be open until August 31.
Music lovers can head to the parking lot of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Ashland on Wednesday, July 12 for a performance by The Shoreliners, sponsored by the Ashland Area Rotary Club. Bring your lawn chair! The performance begins at 6:30 p.m. but why not make it an evening to eat al fresco? The Rotary will be selling hot dogs, sausage sandwiches and beverages starting at 5:30 p.m. while the church group will be selling ice cream sundaes. Music, ice cream and not having to make supper -- my idea of a perfect summer evening!
The Shoreliners are very active this summer. You can also enjoy their music at Luther Ridge, 160 Red Horse Road, Pottsville on Tuesday, July 11 at 6 p.m.
Barbra Streisand fan? Then don't miss simply Streisand at the Majestic Theatre, Pottsville on Friday, July 14 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 -- call 570-628-4647.
It's been rainy but we can't let that stop us from enjoying summer. So what's coming up this month in the great outdoors?
Sunday, July 9
Magnificent Mysterious Meander
Meet at the Schuylkill County AG Center, Pottsville (off Gordon Nagle Trail) at 2 p.m. for a 3 mile moderate hike to an unknown destination with Porcupine Pat.
Thursday, July 13
Silver Creek Fire Tower/Reservoir Hike
Meet at Locust Lake State Park visitor;s parking lot at 10 a.m. for this 8.5 mile, difficult rated hike led by Robin Tracey. Bring a lunch and leashed dogs friendly to other dogs and people are welcome.
Saturday, July 15
How Indians Used Rocks, Trees and Beads to Talk
This program by "Big Owl" McSurdy at Sweet Arrow Lake County Park's Waterfall Pavilion will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. It is for those six years and older. Everyone gets to create a petroglyph rock!
Landingville Marsh and Auburn Dam Hike
Meet at the Cressona Mall near Burger King for a 4 mile moderate hike with Robin Tracey to explore the wetlands. Bring a lunch and leashed, friendly dogs are welcome.
New Zoo Revue
There will be a live animal presentation by science teacher Pam Ulicny at 6 p.m. at at the Locust Lake State Park amphitheatre
If, like me, you missed out on fireworks last weekend, you have two more chances this Saturday, July 8. Both St. Clair and Mahanoy City will be the home to late but still appreciated July 4th displays. St. Clair's will follow their car cruise at 6 p.m. and Mahanoy City's will follow their community yard sale that begins at 8 a.m. and community day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
When the last time you visited Valley View? Maybe it's time for another visit since they have two free events at the Valley View Park, Gap Street this weekend. First, a movie and program about the Porter Tunnel Mine Disaster on Friday at 8 p.m. Then comes the Johannes Schwalm Hessian History Event on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday's events include a historical display and roundtable discussion at 1:30 p.m. Sunday's speakers include Dr. Krebs at 10:30 a.m. and Major Ross Schwalm (Ret.) at 1 p.m.
If free movies (and light refreshments) are what you're interested in Friday nights offerings are Finding Dory at the St. Ambrose Parish Center, 302 Randel Street, Schuylkill Haven from 6 pm. to 8 p.m. and a TBA movie at First Baptist Church, 701 Mahantongo Street, Pottsville from 5:30 pm. to 8 p.m. on Saturday an inspirational movie will be shown at Living Waters Church of God, 155 S. Balliet Street, Frackville from 7 pm. to 9:30 pm.
Shenandoah is also sponsoring a patriotic concert at the A.P. Damato American Legion Memorial Garden, 100 block of North Main Street performed by the Upper Schuylkill Marching Band. Don't miss it on Thursday, July 6. Call 570-612-3894 or 570-462-2734 for more information.
I found a great way to pass the hottest hours of the weekend -- looking through my box full of "Try the someday" recipes for those with blueberries as the starring ingredient. Not because I have a dozen blueberry bushes in my backyard -- I wish! But next week I'll be picking up a 10 lb. box (14 pints) of blueberries from the annual Pottsville Kiwanis Fresh Blueberry Sale. There's still time for you (or you and a couple of friends) to order your blueberries. According to the Kiwanis the blueberries will be delivered "from the grower within 24 hours of picking" on Wednesday, July 5 at Boyer's parking lot in Pottsville. Your blueberry purchase will help support scholarships and local charities for are youth supported by the Kiwanis. the cost for 10 lbs. is $31. You must order by Friday, June 30 by contacting one of the following Kiwanis: Henry at 570-985-7262, Kelly at 570-617-1125 or Susan at 570-691-5576.
While you're waiting for your blueberries why not learn more about the history of our area. The Ashland Area Historic Preservation Society will be hosting a presentation by Karen Esak on Sophia Coxe: Legacy of the Angel of Anthracite. The free presentation (with refreshments) will be held at The Station House, 501 Chestnut Street, Ashland on Wednesday, June 28 at 7 p.m. Then one week later on Wednesday, July 5 at the Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society center, 201 S. Main Street, Shenandoah, Andy Ulicny will emcee the Shenandoah Trivia/Jeopardy team game -- so bring your friends! This free game will begin at 6 p.m. Learn more at 570-462-3626.
Last summer we had so much fun at the beach-- the town we were in sponsored a free movie on the beach. There's nothing like watching a movie under the stars. You have a chance to watch a free movie under the stars in Hamburg this Saturday -- The Secret Lives of Pets. The evening begins with a concert from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. of patriotic music by the Cressona Band. Bring your lawn chairs to Tilden Park, 874 Hex Highway (State Street). They'll also be a free movie at the Majestic Theatre, Pottsville on Saturday at 7 p.m. Popcorn included! Hosted by the Pottsville Recreation Commission and sponsored by M & T Bank the movie will be Sing!
In the mood for a live show instead? How about "All Shook Up" a musical comedy for everyone who loves the music of Elvis Presley. Shows will be at the Simon Kramer Theatre, Alliance Street, New Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets at $15.
Happy first day of summer! Here's hoping you'll be doing something especially summery today! Personally, I'm going to make a strawberry smoothie -- complete with little tiny umbrella -- and blow soap bubbles on my back patio. Don't forget it's also the longest day of the year so take advantage of all that light by enjoying some time outdoors.
But looking forward to the weekend, a theme has developed. Looks like we can call this weekend Wine Weekend since three local wineries are having events this weekend! Just a tip -- follow our local wineries on social media. In addition to wine festivals, they frequently have fun events of all kinds and a visit to a winery guarantees beautiful scenery.
Galen Glen Winery, 255 Winter Mountain Drive, Andreas
Elisa Constantini, author of Italian Moms Spreading Their Art to Every Table, will be visiting and signing her cookbook from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Broad Mountain Vineyard, 596 Harman Road, Halifax
Vendors in the Vineyard will consists of 50 crafters, vendors and food trucks. There will also be live music. Stop by from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, rain or shine.
Stone Mountain Wine Cellars, 1615 Panther Valley Road, Pine Grove (3 miles northwest of Friedensburg)
12th Annual Winebration will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Along with wine, and the ideal summer drink sangria, there will be fresh baked bread, cheese, food for sale and live music from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.. On Saturday it will be Big & Bad Rockabilly Cats while Sunday the Crossroad Duo. You can bring a lawn chair but no alcoholic beverages -- come enjoy the Stone Mountain wines.