Fairs and Festivals

During the summer the Allegheny National Forest Region in Pennsylvania is alive with the sounds of music, laughter and families having fun at a variety of local fairs and festivals. A new shop along scenic Route 6 makes the “Good Ol’ Days” available today. Pick from ethnic festivals that honor the Swedish and Italian heritage of our local communities, or a good-old fashioned county fair - the McKean County Fair.
The 109th Annual McKean County Fair will be held Aug. 9-16, 2014 at the fairgrounds at 7172 Route 46 in Smethport, PA. This old-fashioned county fair features amusement rides, tractor pulls, livestock exhibits and blue-ribbon pie. Bates Bros. Amusement Co. will be providing over 40 modern rides with one of the largest selections of thrill machines for riders of all ages. Get ready to sample fried dough, cotton candy, hot dogs on a stick and all the other fair favorites!
Entertainment at the fair starts on Saturday, Aug. 9 with the Southern Tier Mini Tractor Pulls at 1pm. Sunday is Agriculture Day with no admission fee for this day. Tractor Games/Hit and Miss Engine Show kicks off at 10am in the Track Area. No amusement rides will be running on Sunday.
On Monday, Aug. 11 the Grand Parade is scheduled for 7pm, with the live performance - Ole ’97 Tribute to Johnny Cash at both 8pm and 9:30pm. Tuesday, Aug. 12 is the Full Pull Productions Tractor Pull at 8pm.  On Wednesday, Aug. 13 you can enjoy the Painted Pony Championship Rodeo at 7:30pm. Thursday, Aug. 14 begins with a live musical performance by the local band, Bob Hartle Band, followed by the RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series and the Lee Anderson Street Stock Memorial at 7:30pm.  Round out the weekend on Friday, Aug. 15 by attending the Monster Truck Show at 8pm, and on Saturday, Aug. 16, the Demolition Derby at 6:30pm.
Educational exhibits for 2014 include the Mobile Agricultural Ed Science Lab, the Eagle Dream Rehabilitation Center that focuses on rescuing, treating, rehabilitating and returning to the wild animals that have put themselves in harm’s way, and the Drake Well Museum with information on the history of the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania.
Other events throughout the week include bingo, silent auctions, the McKean County Historical Society display, the McKean County fair raffle, the Great Lakes Timber Show High Flying Pages, and the Mike Klee Magic Show.  
Tickets may be pre-ordered or purchased on-site. For additional information please contact the McKean County Fair Association at 814-887-5361 or click on www.mckeancountyfair.net.
One of the fun new shops along Pennsylvania Route 6 is Compton’s Mom and Pop Shop located at 217 W. Main Street in Smethport. Owners Kari and Clint Compton are combining both the new and old at their charming shop full of the sights, sounds and flavors of your youth. Clint wanted to recreate the family fun of shopping at a candy counter and drinking a soda that he remembers as a child at his grandfather’s gas station.
This new shop, located in a renovated storefront that features the wooden shelves and display cases original to the store, offers a candy counter where you choose from a wide selection of treats including the old time favorites - wax lips, teaberry gum, whirly pops, Abba-Zabba taffy filled with peanut butter and the “big hunk candy bar.” Bring your kids and let them have fun choosing from the wide selection of treats where prices start at five cents.
Hundreds of sodas line the shelves. Here you can order up an old-fashioned soda made with pure cane sugar to drink now, or purchase the soda by the case for later. “Venors is popular,” explained Kari when asked which flavors are the most popular. “One customer ordered three cases for an upcoming party … I think this soda has a cult following. Prickly Pear, another favorite, is a great soda to try on a hot day; it has a mild ginger flavor with what I think is a nutmeg aftertaste.”
You will have a hard time choosing which to drink now and what to buy for later. Seating is available to sample flavors and you can call ahead to schedule a “Soda Tasting” for a group or your family. Gift baskets can also be ordered that will be made up specifically to include all your favorite candies and sodas.
The shop not only features sodas and candies, it also has a very diverse selection of old-time toys, handcrafted furniture and Amish made items. Some of the toys are manufactured of tin, such as their selection of old-fashioned windup toys. The tin Ferris Wheel would be a great item to purchase as a souvenir of your trip to the local county fair. Other toys available are handcrafted by a local artisan of black walnut and other quality hardwoods.
One of the most eye-catching items for sale is a handcrafted table and bench, perfect for your cabin or casual style dining on a covered patio or country style kitchen. Household items fashioned from primitive barn wood and locally hand turned bowls are both decorative and useful. Other gift items include handcrafted jewelry, candles, Amish made candies, jams and jellies.
Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm, and Saturday 9am-3pm. Phone 814-887-5200 or search them on Facebook.
Honoring the Swedish heritage of this small village along Route 6, the Mt. Jewett Swedish Festival is scheduled for Aug. 8-10, 2014 in Mt. Jewett, PA. This annual three-day community-wide festival includes a Swedish Smorgasbord, carnival rides, a traditional Maypole Dance, a Scandinavian folk band, Swedish Dancers, car and bike show, parade and fireworks.
The Leif Ericson Viking Ship Norseman is open for tours from 4-8pm on Friday, Aug. 8, from 10am-9pm on Saturday, and noon-4pm on Sunday.  Friday entertainment includes guitarist Paul Eisert performing at the Heritage Park Gazebo from 6-8pm, the Prince & Princess Contest at 7:30pm at the Center Street Stage, and the band He Said, She Said performing rock and classic songs from 9:30pm-midnight.
Saturday, August 9 features the Swedish Meatball Contest from 11am-1pm at the Heritage Park Gazebo, Dewayne Hill will perform a magic act at the Center Street Stage from noon-12:30pm, and the Crown Gospel Band will perform from 12:30-1:30pm.
Not to be missed is the Swedish Smorgasbord served from noon-3pm at the Lutheran Church, the Maypole Dance at 12:30pm on the lawn of St. Matthews Church, and the traditional Scandinavian Band and Dancers at the Center Street Stage from 1-2:30pm.
The traditional parade along Main Street will begin at 5pm Saturday, followed by the Jr. King & Queen Contest at 6pm, and Alberta’s Pie Auction from 6:30-7:30pm. Fireworks will start at 9:30pm. The band Witch Hazel will perform oldies and rock melodies from 8-11pm at the Center Street Stage.
The Nebo Chapel, one of the oldest surviving Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Chapels in the nation, will be open for tours on Saturday, Aug. 9 from 11am-1pm. This little white church - built in 1887 in what was once the edge of the Pennsylvania wilderness - is an example of the sturdy construction that characterized rural America in the 19th century. Built of lumber from local mills, the octagonal church is patterned after the beloved Ersta Church in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Viking Ship Races get underway at 1pm on Main Street on Sunday, Aug. 10. This hilarious street race starts with the ships racing down Main Street to the first stop where they exhibit their ships and hoist a Swedish Flag. They then race to the next stop to dine at the Swedish Smorgasbord, turn the ship around and race to the finish where they lower the Swedish Flag. All in good fun, may the best Viking or Swede team win!
For more information and a full schedule of Swedish Festival events, log into Facebook and search: Mount Jewett Swedish Festival.
“Tutti benvenuti,” which means “everyone welcome,” is the spirit of the Festa Italiana, held in Bradford, PA beginning Thursday, Aug. 15 with the opening ceremony at 6pm. This three-day celebration concludes with fireworks Saturday evening, Aug. 17.
Bring your appetite, as authentic Italian foods are available all three days at a variety of food booths. Delicious food choices include eggplant sandwiches, Italian meatball sandwiches and pasta fagioli. For dessert, try a popular favorite - anise flavored pizzelles.
Food, game booths and the beer tent will open on Thursday at 4pm. The Happy Days Band will perform Thursday evening. Friday night, The Usual Suspects will perform from 7-11pm.  On Saturday, Aug. 17, the booths will be open from 11am-11pm for food and games. John Kytic Band will perform from 1-5pm, Murphy’s Law, a band from Buffalo, will be the evening entertainment “under the tent” from 7-11pm.  “The Amazing Magic Show” will be held at 4pm at the St. Bernard Auditorium.
For more information, go to Facebook: The Official Festa Italiana in Bradford, PA. Ciao!  
The Crook Farm Country Fair & Old Time Music Festival, 476 Seaward Avenue in Bradford, begins on Friday night, Aug. 22 and continues Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24. The Country Music Jam & Dance starts at 7:30pm. All are invited to join in dancing, singing or playing your musical instrument.
On the main stage on Saturday, Aug. 24 will be a variety of bands starting at noon, including the Crook Farm All Stars Hank William Tribute from 3-5pm. Saturday evening the Tent Sing-Along with open jamming begins at 7pm.
During the fair, the N.W. Ukuleles will be playing. Drew Danielson will have a tent set up and will be doing workshops all weekend. The group invites you to come on out and learn a new instrument. It’s easy and fun. A variety of other workshops including flatfoot dancing, Erie Canal & Civil War songs, and instrument repair will be held.
Gospel Sing Around begins at 10:30am on Sunday, Aug. 25 with Sunday Morning Harmony & Larry Combs. The Rosebud Ramblers will perform at noon, followed by the WNY Fiddle Kids at 12:45pm. The Old Time Square Dance Traveling Grangers are scheduled from 1:45-2:45pm, followed by the Enchanted Mountain Line Dancers at 2:55pm, Egypt Hollow at 3:15pm, and Hamlin Station Bluegrass from 4:05-5pm.
Bring your favorite chair or a blanket; the Main Stage is tented with seating, but all events are held at Crook Farm which offers grassy seating areas with some tree shade near the stage. Tours of the one-room schoolhouse, bank building and the authentically restored Crook Farm Homestead are offered throughout the weekend at this National Heritage Site. *Please note schedule of performers is subject to change. For additional information and the most up-to-date schedule please contact:  ww.bradfordlandmark.org.
   Only a few highlights of what is happening in the region are listed on these pages. Lodging is available for every taste and budget. You can view the full list of upcoming events, lodging options, attractions, museums, outdoor activities including trail maps, plus download the 2014 Fair & Festival Map for August at www.visitANF.com. For a FREE Visitors Guide & Map please call 800-473-9370 or e-mail info@visitANF.com
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