August is a month of celebrations, fairs and festivals in the Allegheny National Forest Region. Whether it’s a hometown festival, a glimpse of the past or a celebration of McKean County, Pennsylvania’s history, you will find it here in August. The Crook Farm Country Fair held in Bradford runs Saturday to Sunday, Aug. 25-26 from 10am-5pm both days, with musical entertainment starting the night before on Friday, Aug. 24.
“There’s always something new at Crook Farm.” That’s according to Bob Esch, a member of the Crook Farm Country Fair committee. The fair is an annual event that incorporates everything old and new into a weekend of fun. “The old era meets the new era,” he said, adding that they will be mixing in some fresh new ideas as well as keeping the historic feeling of an old-fashioned country fair.
More than 50 vendors are expected to be on the grounds of Crook Farm on Seaward Avenue, one of the oldest homesteads in Bradford, Pa. A musical segment, featuring the talented musician brought into the area by Howard Blumenthal, add to the festivities of the weekend. Stop by the Bank Building on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7:30pm where there will be a country music jam and a round dance. Come dance, sing or play. A full music schedule is available at www.bradfordlandmark.org.
Crook Farm is a pioneer homestead that dates back to the 1850s. The original Crook family homestead is on the farm property and is open for a guided tour during the festival, as well as the barn and bank building.
Esch said there will be a new booth this year that will include book signings from local authors. “These are artisans in the truest sense,” Esch said. In addition to homemade goods, there will also be merchandise such as Tupperware and jewelry available for purchase. We have been mixing it up a little and it’s been well-received,” Esch said of mixing homemade products with other commercial items.
There will be a petting zoo and pony rides for the kids. Bring your appetite because food will also be available. Various not-for-profits in the area provide the food concessions. The chicken barbeque furnished by the Otto Township Fire Department is a meal not to be missed. The cost for admission to the fair is $3 for adults.
If Italian food is your liking, try the Festa Italiana on Festival Way in Bradford, which is set for Aug. 9-11. A favorite festival in Bradford since 1978, this “foodie” festival pays homage to the Italian heritage of many Bradford residents and their culinary specialties. Homemade Italian sausage, meatballs, rigatoni, pasta fagioli, eggplant sandwiches, and canolis are all featured at the food booths set up on Festival Way.
New this year is a meatball eating contest. There are also children’s rides and live entertainment. Check out the festival’s page on Facebook for more information.
It is more fun if you stay over! In Bradford, the following accommodations are available: Best Western PLUS Bradford Inn 800-344-4656; Comfort Inn of Bradford 814-368-6772; Heritage Suites 814-362-6820, Holiday Inn Express 800-230-4134; and the Mountain Laurel Inn B&B 814-362-8006. Cabins and camping are also available nearby at Willow Bay in the Allegheny National Forest.
Mount Jewitt Swedish Festival
If a Swedish smorgasbord is more your style, travel to Mount Jewett for the annual Mount Jewett Swedish Festival, located on Scenic Route 6. This festival, in its 42nd year, will be held Friday through Sunday, Aug. 10-12 in downtown Mount Jewett and offers a variety of Swedish-related, as well as non-Swedish-related activities.
“It is a family-oriented festival,” said Beth Carpenter, one of the organizers. Some of the biggest attraction to the event is the smorgasbord, which is scheduled from noon-3pm on Saturday at the Lutheran Church. The parade will step off at 5pm Saturday. After the parade, visitors are welcome to stay and enjoy the festivities, including fireworks at 9:30pm.
In addition to amusement rides, a car and motorcycle show will be held on Saturday from noon-4pm in Community Park. Carpenter said the pie contest is followed by the pie auction at 7pm Saturday at the Center Street Stage.
Make sure to stop by for the Viking Ship Races on Main Street from 1-2pm on Sunday. Carpenter explained that these are like old-fashioned bed races where teams design their own “Viking ships” and race them. Carpenter noted that the Mount Jewett Firehall will be hosting the beer tent. No one under the age of 21 is permitted at the beer tent after 9pm. A full schedule of events is posted on the Mount Jewett Swedish Festival Facebook page.
Kinzua Sky Walk
Just outside of Mount Jewett is the amazing Kinzua Sky Walk, located at the Kinzua Bridge State Park.
The Sky Walk, built on the historic towers of the Kinzua Viaduct, soars out into the Kinzua Gorge 600 feet and is complete with a viewing platform on the end that has a partial glass floor. The view of the Kinzua Gorge from this vantage point is stunning. Admission to the park and the skywalk is free, and the park is open seven days a week.
For an additional thrill, book a fly-over of the park and Kinzua Sky Walk with experienced pilot, Bruce Klein of Vintage Bi-Plane Rides. Advance reservations are required for the aerial tours. To book your tour please phone 814-642-9486.
Flickerwood Wine Cellars
One place that really rocks is a winery located right off of scenic Pennsylvania Route 6. Flickerwood Wine Cellars & Lounge at 309 Flickerwood Road in Kane is offering a Summer Outdoor Concert Series that runs from 1-4pm on selected Sundays. Wine will be available by the bottle only. Bring a wine glass, lawn chair and be ready for an afternoon of enjoyment.
The Summer Concert schedule at the winery is as follows: Aug. 5-Mojo Hand; Aug. 19-XIII; and Sept. 2-Uncorked Acoustics. The concerts will be held rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, they will be moved into the lounge.
Nearby accommodations in Kane, Lantz Corners and Mount Jewett include the Kane Manor B&B 814-837-6522; Hilltop Suites 814-837-6481; Kane View Motel 8147-837-8600; and Lantz Corners Getaway 814-778-5391. Camping and cabins are available at the Foote Rest Campground 814-778-5336.
McKean County Fair
The 107th McKean County Fair in East Smethport runs from Aug. 11-18 and features a week packed with excitement ranging from wild animals to extreme sports to educational mobile displays. The U.S. FMX National Championship Series will showcase aerial stunts starting at 8pm Tuesday, Aug. 4 in the grandstand. The fee to attend is $5 in addition to the general gate admission.
The Painted Pony Championship Rodeo, the largest professional rodeo company in New York State, is home to the 2009 PRCA Frontier Circuit Bareback, Saddle Bronco and Bull of the Year as well as the 2008 First Frontier Circuit Finals Bareback Horse and Bull of the Year. The rodeo will kick-off at 8pm on Wednesday, Aug. 15.
Rev up your engines and be sure to check out the Monster Truck Show and Tough Truck Competition at 7pm on Friday, Aug. 17. Those scheduled to race are the Rammunition truck of Hall Brothers Racing, Bigfoot as well and XDP Diesel.
Relive the music of the “Brothers Gibb” by spending an evening with the “Bee Gees” - or something very similar. Stayin’ Alive - a Tribute to the Bee Gees - will take the stage at 8pm on Saturday, Aug, 18 to sing such standbys as “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep is Your Love” and “Night Fever.” For more information on the week’s events at the McKean County Fair, log onto www.mckeancountyfair.net.
While in Smethport, stretch your legs a bit and take a walking tour to view the beautiful Victorian architecture of homes that were built during the age of the Lumber Barons. This self-guided walking tour includes the grand McKean County Courthouse, the home of former state Sen. H.H. Redfield, as well as the home of Henry Hamlin, who was reported to be the wealthiest private banker in the United States at the end of the 1800s.
Set some time aside to tour the Old Jail Museum, located on King Street. The jail was constructed in 1872 and is the oldest public building in Smethport. The museum has a wealth of information on the famous Civil War Bucktail Regiment and details about the oil boom days of years gone by. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 1-4pm until Aug. 31, and from 1-4pm Tuesdays and Thursday from Sept. 1-Oct. 31. General admission is $4. Members, senior citizens and children ages 6 to 12 are admitted at $2 per person.
After a busy day, spend the evening in Smethport at the Mansion District Inn, 814-598-7403, or the Smethport Motel, 814-887-5550.
To request a free Travel Guide & Map, contact the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau at 800-473-9370 or e-mail info@visitANF.com. Downloadable maps of suggested scenic drives within the forest and hiking trails are available at www.visitANF.com.