If you're like me, your days aren't filled with tons of new and unusual experiences. For the most part we stick with our old favorites even if it means ignoring interesting things right before (or above) our noses. But I recently read an article that made me decide to try something new. The article was about plans for a spaceship to explore the sun (not actually landing on it -- it would incinerate). Although we think of it as something special, the heavenly body we call Sun is just one of the millions of stars in the sky, just a little closer to the Earth. When was the last time you noticed the stars? I usually don't notice them until we have visitors who live in cities remark on just how many stars they can see -- I'm just too busy to see them. How about you?
If you think it's time to notice the stars you'll have the perfect opportunity this Saturday at the Locust Lake State Park amphitheater at 8 p.m. The Hazleton Area Astronomical Society will be presenting a slide show and giving us the chance to try out their telescopes on the south boat launch parking area. This is a free program, although children must be accompanied by an adult. Why not go and see something new?
If you want a quick event closer to home, St. Clair seems to be offering a walking program -- this week it's the Woodland Terrace Hike on Wednesday, June 14 led by Deb Davis. The hike begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Historical Society, 24 N. Nichols Street. The hike will include a "jaunt" up the Gun Club Hill and a visit to a backyard wildlife habitat certified by the Natural Wildlife Federation. Maybe you can learn if your backyard could qualify. The walk will also include a walk through the Woodland Terrace Development and around the cul-de-sac. If your someone on the 10,000 steps exercise program this is a great way to "get in your steps" while learning something and making new friends.
With our rainy Memorial Day, I missed out on my son and his marching band playing in two parades. I was looking forward to their "last hurrah" of the parade season. If you missed out on some Memorial Day music there are a few upcoming free concerts you can enjoy -- a few which are outdoor concerts complete with a "bring your own chair or picnic blanket" suggestion.
Wednesday, June 7
Cressona Band at the Tamaqua High Rise, 222 E. Broad Street
Thursday, June 8
Brosky and Moyer at the Tamaqua Train Station, 18 N. Railroad Street
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
*This is the beginning of the Tamaqua Summer Concert Series. Check out upcoming concerts here
Friday, June 9
The New Individuals at Valley View Park, Gap Street
6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 11
The New Individuals at Heisler's
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If you're looking for some summer reads, why not stop by the Pottsville Library today for their Used Book Sale from noon to 2 p.m. Their sales are held the first Monday of every month.
You can also help local libraries by attending the Mustard Seed Dine-Out fundraiser on Wednesday, June 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at The Mustard Seed Cafe, 110 E. Market Street, Orwigsburg. A percentage of the proceeds go to the Orwigsburg Library. Takeouts are available. Personally, my son gives a big thumbs up to their marinara sauce!
Last on my readers list is Bingo at Boscov's! All ages are invited to bingo in the toy department on Saturday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Winners receive books and everyone is eligible to receive a $25 Boscov's gift card -- you must be a player and present to win the gift card. This sounds like something new and unexpected for the book lovers in your life.
Summer is here! OK. not officially but these past few days I've really felt like we turned a corner, haven't you? Stop your kids' summer chorus of "I'm bored" preemptively with the Bear Creek Festival this Saturday, June 4 at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds from noon to 4 p.m. This free event will include some favorites returning like build your own birdhouse and wildlife demonstrations by Red Creek Wildlife Center as well as some new additions. It's an event that is fun for the whole family and if you're a grandparent looking for something fun to do and aren't up to a trip to an amusement park try the Bear Creek Festival. I think it will be a hit.
With the nice weather here why not plan a hike/walk? There are plenty scheduled in June.
Friday, June 3
Walk Around Town at 10:30 a.m.
Meets at Admiral Boone Park, St. Clair. Led by Deb Davis this is a 2 mile walk.
Thursday, June 8
Swatara State Park Hike at 10:30 a.m.
Meets at parking lot on Swopes Valley Road just off 443 in Suedberg to hike by Swatara Creek and a fossil bed. Led by Robin Tracey this 6 mile hike is rated moderate. Bring a lunch and leashed dogs friendly to other dogs and people. Shine only.
Saturday, June 10
Lebanon Reservoir Hike at 10:30 a.m.
Meets at parking lot on Swopes Valley Road in Swatara State Park to hike an old railroad bed along the Lebanon Reservoir. Led by Robin Tracey this 5 mile hike is rated easy. Bring a lunch and leashed dogs friendly to other dogs and people. Shine only.
Sunday, June 11
Mud Run Ramble from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Meets at the south end of the Schuylkill Mall parking lot to hike on the Broad Mountain and view the mountain laurel. Led by John Domalakes this 3 mile hike is rated moderate.
If you're up to a bigger challenge why not register for the Firecracker 5K in Port Carbon? This has become a fun tradition for the little town and is a rain or shine event. It's $20 to pre-register (before June 10) and $25 up until the day of the race. There's an 8 a.m. start and you can cool down while you enjoy their 4th of July Parade at 10 a.m. You can register online at http:pretzelcitysports.com or call 570-622-5824.
With the school days slipping away are you wondering what your student can do this summer? There is a fabulous opportunity for students ages 13 to 15 -- Norm Thornburg Conservation Camp. The camp takes place at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds from June 15 to 17 and the deadline to apply is June 1! Camp includes canoeing, field sports, bonfires, fishing, wildlife management and more. Fee is $100. Contact Porcupine Pat for more information at 570-391-3326 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also check out a variety of classes at the Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill Haven on Wednesdays focusing on art, animals, science, music and more. You can also find classes at the Schuylkill County Council for the Arts, Pottsville for ages 3 through 14 in theatre, musical performance, art and cooking.
Kids aren't the only ones who can learn new tricks this summer! Check out the class list at Diakon Living & Learning After 50. In addition to classes there are also clubs you can join to celebrate hobbies like gardening and photography and other trips and events.
Did you miss the Block of Art? If you feel the need to get a dose of local art you have a second chance this weekend! the Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill Haven is have an unveiling of the "Out of the World: the Planet Walk" display on the third floor from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Sounds mysterious, doesn't it? Apparently this is a project led by the Schuylkill Haven Area Middle School and I can't wait to see what they've come up with -- admission is free.
The Fairlane Village Mall is also hosting Chip Off the Block of Art from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- a gathering of local arts and crafters. This is somethig new so I'm not quite sure what it'll be like but I'm sure it's worth checking out.
Stop by the Majestic Theatre, 209 North Centre Street, Pottsville for M&T Movies at the Majestic on Saturday at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) Admission and a bag of popcorn are free. you can purchase drinks and candy there.
This Saturday we have the opportunity to attend not one, but two festivals! So what are you in the mood for -- wine or kielbasi? They're both from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. so choose which one strikes your fancy.
The Kielbasi Festival is (of course) in Shenandoah and they're celebrating a milestone this year -- the tenth annual Kielbasi Festival. You'll find the festival on Main Street. Along with the three kielbasi heavy hitters: Capital Foods, Kowalonek's and Lucky's, Mrs. T's Pierogies will also have a booth. If you're a kielbasi maker why not enter the Kielbasi Making Contest. Bring one ring of cooked kielbasi in a baggie to the DSI office before noon on Saturday. On the baggie write your name and the category (fresh or smoked). The entry fee is $6. While you're enjoying your pierogies and kielbasi you can listen to some live music and enjoy other vendors, especially those celebrating ethnic crafts.
In another corner of the county you can attend the Appalachian Wine Festival at the Schuylkill county Fairgrounds, Summit Station. You can purchase tickets online for $20 or at the gate for $25. Tickets are just $10 for designated drivers, non-drinkers and underage attendees. Children under 12 are free. feel free to bring chairs, canopies, tables, etc to make your day more comfortable. You are also permitted to bring bottled water and snacks but there will be plenty of food available -- my guess is that if Saturday is anything like today the ice cream vendor will be a sellout! In addition to at least nine local wineries for sampling there will be live music and many vendors.
There are two Narcan training sessions being held in the county this month. Narcan is an overdose reversal drug used by many first responders and police departments. The first is at Faith Church, 1168 Centre Turnpike, Orwigsburg on Thursday, May 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The second is at Trinity United Church of Christ's Founder's Hall, 22 Lafayette Street, Tamaqua on Tuesday, May 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The events are free but you must register at www.coginc.org or by calling 570-628-6990.
Well, Mother Nature had me fooled this weekend. I thought we'd be trapped indoors all weekend but wasn't Sunday gorgeous! If you're looking to enjoy the improving weather why not add a Schuylkill on the Move hike to your calendar? There are three coming up:
Wednesday, May 17
Tree-mendous Tree Trek begins at 6:30 p.m. Meet at the St. Clair Historical Society. This two mile walk is rated easy.
Saturday, May 20
Cold Springs Hike-Rausch Gap from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meet at the Appalachia Trail parking lot at the corner of Routes 443 and 72 across from Swatara State Park at 9:20 a.m. Robin Tracey will lead you on a hike to explore the ruins of an old resort town. Bring a lunch and dogs (leashed and friendly with dogs AND humans) are welcome. Registration is required by calling 570-467-2506. This 5 mile hike is rated moderate.
Saturday, May 27
Southside Scramble begins at 10 a.m. Meet at Admiral Boone Park, St. Clair. This will be a three mile walk.
Silver Creek Reservoir Hike from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Meet at Locust Lake State Park parking lot. Robin Tracey will lead you on a hike to the reservoir and fire tower. Bring a lunch and dogs (leashed and friendly with dogs AND humans) are welcome. Registration is required by calling 570-467-2506. This 8.5 mile hike is rated challenging.
Exercise your right to vote! Tomorrow is Election Day. Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Make your voice count.