Start Your Engines

The Fourth of July is well known as the birthday of our nation, and a reason to celebrate, but did you also know that July holds other interesting and fun holidays such as Chocolate Day (July 7th) and National Ice Cream Day (July 20th)?  Travel into the Allegheny National Forest Region in northwestern Pennsylvania to celebrate July 4th and to enjoy the season highlights of summer - artisan fairs, picnics, camping, dirt track racing and just plain good old-fashioned family fun@
Dirt track racing is the most common form of auto racing in the United States, beginning before World War I and becoming increasingly popular during the 1920’s and 30’s. The Bradford Speedway, 330 Summit Road in Bradford, Pennsylvania, carries on the excitement and thrill of fast cars with a history of 60 years of racing.
The stars of the Bradford Speedway, of course, are the cars and their drivers. It is different here.  Here the stars are local athletes, local drivers, with the winners usually coming from the nearby counties of McKean, Warren and Potter in Pennsylvania, and Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany in New York, with some drivers from New Jersey, Ohio, and as far away as Ontario, Canada.  
The fun begins when the gates open at 4pm, followed shortly thereafter with the pre-race concert at 4:30pm. Racing start at 6:00pm. Races are held weekly at the Speedway starting in April to the end of the season, commencing with Sizzlin’ Saturday Fall Shows, Oct. 4, 18 and 25, 2014.  Two upcoming events not to be missed include the Bradford Speedway Historical Society Weekend June 6-7, and the 42nd Annual Firecracker Weekend June 27-28.
After a day playing outdoors, an evening at the Bradford Speedway allows you to set back and be entertained. “The Bradford Speedway has great racing, but it also has something for all ages; activities are going on all the time,” explains Jeff Andrulonis, business owner. “It is really a three-ring circus of fun and inexpensive activities for the whole family.”
The Bradford Speedway Historical Society Weekend will feature a Friday night D-Day Commemoration with a vintage bi-plane flyover by Bruce Klein, and an 82nd Airborne Division Display. Saturday night will feature a display of vintage racecars traveling in from Pittsburgh. Many sport enthusiasts consider cars from the 50’s and 60’s to be the “Golden Age” of racing.
The 42nd Annual Firecracker Weekend is for the hard core speed enthusiast.  (This is the weekend for really fast cars!) Friday night will feature the fast track, pro late models - a mid-season point championship night. Saturday night will spotlight the Monster Truck Show.
The Bradford Speedway is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year. In 1958, the Bradford Speedway hosted the National Grand Race. Some very famous NASCAR family names raced this track. Lee Petty competed, with races won by Junior Johnson. Some local families have race names that go back through the generations, such as the Layfields. The 60th Annual Season Championship Weekend, Friday and Saturday, August 8-9, will feature Championship Night, FASTRAK pro late models, 4 cylinder Hornets, 6 cylinder Bombers plus the Cook’s Choice Race.  Ticket prices are $6.00 for adults, $3 for kids ages 5-15, under age of four is free. An All-Access Pit Pass is only $20. Admission for special shows may vary; credit cards are accepted. Call the SpeedBourne Bradford Speedway Track Hotline for pricing and group discount information at 814-465-3542 or click over to
For the first time, Cabela’s Master Walleye Circuit Tournament (MWC) series will be held at Willow Bay, in the Allegheny Reservoir, located in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania.  Scheduled for July 11-13, this event is part of the 2014 Master Walleye Circuit taking place in seven states during eight months, concluding with the World Walleye Championship in October.
Zippo® Outdoor will be sponsoring the award-winning walleye fishing team from Bradford, Doug Yohe and Charlie Brant.  “Zippo supports this team; they are gutsy guys in a sport fishing category known for extreme conditions. This kind of adventurous lifestyle is a great fit for our Outdoor product line,” said Chris Funk, Zippo Outdoor Brand Manager.
The team uses a custom-designed Ranger boat featuring Zippo-and-Case themed skin, and travels throughout the United States to compete with the other best walleye fishermen in the country.
“It will be really exciting to see local anglers out there competing with the national pros,” Yohe said. “We have a beautiful lake and are proud to show it off to the rest of the fishing world.” 
Nearby, in the city where the Zippo lighter was invented, the Zippo/Case Museum, 1932 Zippo Drive, Bradford, is open daily. Hours are Monday-Saturday from 9:00am-5:00pm, and Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm. The museum features the world’s most extensive public display of Zippo product and Case knives along with fascinating historic displays, a chance to view the repair shop at work, and an extensive gift shop full of Zippo and Case products.  Go to or
What could be sweeter than a holiday providing the perfect opportunity to eat your favorite chocolates in large portions? Chocolate is America’s favorite flavor, and can be found in candies, ice cream, a host of desserts, and even breakfast cereals.
The Sweet Shoppe, located at 8 Field Street in Kane, Pennsylvania, is the perfect place to celebrate Chocolate Day! This darling shop features artisan chocolates in many forms - dark chocolates, white chocolate and of course their famous “Mountain Marshmallow.” This chocolate delight is crafted of homemade caramel and marshmallow, walnuts, and milk chocolate. The shop also offers homemade baked goods.  Choose from chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing, or a cream horn dipped in chocolate, or for the true chocolate enthusiast … “Death by Brownie.”
You can visit the shop and nibble on your favorites, or you can pre-order for pick-up. What could be more fun than homemade chocolate treats for your next family picnic or summer party? The Sweet Shoppe is open daily from 11:00am-7:00pm. For additional information or to place orders, please call 814-335-6437.
Ice cream is nutritious; its base ingredient is milk … didn’t Mom always tell us to get more milk? A little heavy on the sugar and calories, but summer is meant for having fun.
In 1984, President Ronald Regan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month, establishing the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. The ice cream cone is credited to Charles Miches of St. Louis, Missouri, who at the World’s Fair in St. Louis filled a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream to make the first ice cream cone. 
Celebrate National Ice Cream Day with a scenic drive along Route 6 in Pennsylvania to the Country Pines Ice Cream Shop located at 25 Pine Haven Drive in Kane.  You will enjoy the relaxing atmosphere with outdoor seating, music and a play area for the kids.  Choose from a wide variety of premium soft serve, and over twelve different flavors of Hershey’s ice cream; both are served in freshly baked waffle cones. Shakes, sundaes, flurries and banana splits are also available. Country Pines Ice Cream Shop is open from 11:00am-9:00pm daily from June to September. For information call 814-837-8888.
After your ice cream break, travel Route 6 west to Route 321 north, turn right, and drive north along the Longhouse National Scenic Byway. As you pass through the Allegheny National Forest you will have stunning vistas of the forestlands and the waters of the Allegheny Reservoir.  At the intersection of Routes 321 and 59, beside the Bradford Ranger Station, turn left and travel to Rimrock Overlook to enjoy picnic areas, developed scenic overlooks, and short hiking trails. If you are looking for swimming along the reservoir, continue on Route 59 to the Allegheny Reservoir.  Directly on the left you will see the access road to Kinzua Beach. Swimming is free at Kinzua Beach in the Allegheny National Forest.
While in Kane, why not enjoy a movie at a good old-fashioned drive-in theater? The Family Drive-In Theatre, 6627 Route 6 East, is something that many of a younger age have only read about. Drive through the gate, pay your per-person admission fee, park the car, switch on the sound, and enjoy the freedom of watching high-quality digital movies on the big screen from the comfort of your car. Go old school and take along folding chairs or a blanket so you can enjoy the beauty of a nighttime sky filled with twinkling stars. A miniature 9-hole golf course on site provides pre-movie fun for families or couples.
Add to the ambiance by going to the snack shop for a tasty grilled hamburger on a toasted bun, a hot dog with ketchup, mustard and onion, or have the staff mix up a yummy vanilla or chocolate milkshake. No problem eating in your seat at the drive-in! For the current list of shows this season, please go to or phone 814-837-9760.
The Allegheny National Forest Region offers a full range of family fun activities. Accommodations include over 1,000 campsites, deluxe and rustic cabins, bed & breakfasts, hotels and lodges - something for every taste and budget. You can view the full list of activities, accommodations, attractions, museums, shopping and upcoming events at  For a FREE Visitors Guide & Map, or to order the Kinzua Sky Walk Brochure or the Allegheny National Forest Region Dining Guide please call 800-473-9370 or e-mail
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