Get a Little Taste of History, Good Food and Great Music at Kinzua Bridge State Park Sept. 15-16, 2012
Are you an outdoor enthusiast, nature or railroad buff? As the summer heat subsides, it is time to begin to mark up the calendar for the 17th annual Fall Festival at the Kinzua Bridge State Park! On Sept. 15-16, 2012, bring the whole family for a little taste of history, good food and great music!
The festival is being held on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm at the Kinzua Bridge State Park just east of Mt. Jewett, Pa. According to Debbie Lunden, Secretary of the Kinzua Bridge Foundation and Director of the McKean County Planning Commission, “Last year, due to the grand opening of the Kinzua Sky Walk, we saw about 12,000 people come to the festival over the two-day period.”
Prepare yourself for a slew of craft vendors, delicious food and a breathtaking view of the Kinzua Bridge. Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair to enjoy bluegrass country tunes! “The festival has been a continued success each year because people can visit the State Park and enjoy an attraction that has historical significance, as well as natural beauty,” said Lunden.
For the children, spend the afternoon taking pony rides, watching the zem zem cars, dipping homemade candles, making leaf prints, drinking yummy apple cider and checking out the new Sky Walk! At the end of the day, the event is fun for the whole family … you shouldn’t miss it!
In addition to the great food and fun times, the biggest perk of attending the Kinzua Bridge Fall Festival is exploring the newest dimension of the State Park, the Kinzua Sky Walk. The attraction was created after a powerful F1 tornado on July 21, 2003 ripped 11 of the bridge’s 20 towers onto the forest floor. The remaining structure was reinvented into a pedestrian walkway with a partial glass floor.
“With the thrill of ‘walking on air’ and the added attraction of the partial glass floor at the end of the observation area, it provides a new level of excitement for the visitor,” said Linda Devlin, Executive Director of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau (ANFVB).
The scenic view from the Sky Walk spans approximately eight miles, providing an opportunity to view the remarkable hillsides, treetops and the fallen pillars, as they lay scattered through the valley. “For fall foliage viewing I can’t think of a more stunning location from which to photograph the beauty of fall color within the Allegheny Mountains,” said Devlin.
The Sky Walk is the area’s most popular tourist attraction, following the Allegheny National Forest, in attracting visitors from around the world. The original bridge was built of iron, and re-built in 1900 of steel to handle larger trains and heavier loads of freight. After the tornado of 2003, it was once again reborn as the Kinzua Sky Walk. “It is a testament to ingenuity and creative thinking,” said Devlin.
The Kinzua Bridge State Park was established in 1963; the bridge stood tall for 103 years. Pre-tornado, visitation numbers were around 125,000 per year. According to Lunden, with the reconditioning of the bridge and the opening of the Sky Walk, visitors have flooded back to the State Park. In the short period between September to the end of December 2011, about 82,000 people visited the new attraction.
The original bridge was 301 feet high and 2,053 feet long and was once the highest and longest railroad bridge in the world. It was billed as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” and offered excursion rides across the Kinzua valley, as well as freight service.
The Kinzua Bridge State Park can be found on U.S. Route 6, just east of Mt. Jewett, Pa. in McKean County. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact the ANFVB at 1-800-473-9370, or Debbie Lunden of the Kinzua Bridge Foundation at 814-887-2754.