Enjoy the warm summer days of August by celebrating Family Fun Month with a visit to the Allegheny National Forest Region in northwestern Pennsylvania. The Forest is a great place to celebrate some of the lesser known August holidays such as National S’Mores Day on Aug. 10, Relaxation Day on Aug. 15, and Toasted Marshmallow Day on Aug. 30. Hikers and campers are sure to enjoy National Trail Mix Day on Aug. 31. Round out the fun by exploring the restaurants and shops in the nearby Victorian village of Smethport, Pennsylvania, on your way to the McKean County Fair.
111th MCKEAN COUNTY FAIR
A trip to the McKean County Fair Aug. 13-20 in East Smethport, PA will bring a smile to the faces of kids of all ages. Saturday and Sunday offer free admission with a schedule of events including tractor rides and tractor games, with the official opening ceremonies taking place at 6pm on Sunday, Aug. 14.
The amusement park rides on the midway open at 5pm on Monday. Other events during the week include the Wolf Pack Animal Show, glass blowing, chicken judging, and the McKean County Historical Society’s display featuring the railroads of McKean County “All Aboard.”
Tuesday, Aug. 16 is Energy Day with displays by American Refining Group and the Mobile Energy Education Unit. Marshmallow Overcoat will perform at 7pm, the Full Pull Productions Tractor Pull will begin at 8pm. Veteran’s Day is Wed. Aug. 17; all veterans and active duty personnel with proof of service will be admitted free. The Miniature Horse Pull will start at 6pm, the Talent Contest at 7pm, and the Full Pull Drag Racing (local talent) at 7:30 pm.
Senior Citizen’s Day is Thursday, Aug. 18, with seniors 62+ admitted free. Kevin & Emily will perform at 7pm on the mini-stage, with a Barn Dance at 9pm. Friday, Aug. 19 offers pony rides at 3pm, the Southern Tier Mini Tractor Pull at 7pm, with country-singer newcomer William Michael Morgan performing at 8pm. The last day of the McKean County Fair is Saturday, Aug. 20. A Karaoke Contest will be held at 1pm, Dick Tady & DTO (Polka Music) will play from 2-6pm, and the Demolition Derby will start at 6:30pm.
The fairground is located along Route 46 South, east of Smethport, PA. Phone 814-887-5361 for information and/or to pre-order tickets. For the full list of activities during fair week visit mckeancountyfair.net.
WATSON’S HARD KNOX IS FULL OF UNIQUE TREASURES
Do you enjoy the thrill of the hunt? Are you a “picker” or a scrounger on a memorabilia seeking mission? Then a visit to Watson’s Hard Knox is a must-do. From the moment you walk in the door (where you will first be greeted by Jack, and then by his three-legged dog Coco), you will know this is a place worth exploring.
Jack Darrin is the big brother, his younger sister Vanessa “Ness” and her husband Josh are the owners. As Jack explains, “The business started because Ness and Josh ‘love the hunt.’ My sister had so much stuff; she could possibly have been considered a hoarder, so we suggested to her that she might want to consider selling some of her treasures.”
And this was the start of the eclectic inventory of items for sale at Watson’s Hard Knox.
Antiques and wooden furniture at a wide range of price levels are for sale. “We focus on real wood furniture,” states Jack, “no particleboard.” “We want to provide items which will last. My job is to fix anything that needs fixing, so those looking to down-size, up-size, or first-timers can find what they want at reasonable prices. We offer big and little furniture - good quality pieces which don’t fall apart.”
So what can be found here? For those seeking mid-century, there is a nice selection of kitchen items including period mixing bowls, table and chair sets, and a Detroit Jewel, green and cream, working gas stove in excellent condition. A set of black amethyst dishes offers up Art Deco decorating ideas. Two Hoosier cabinets, a variety of painted metal headboards, a mahogany Secretary, an antique spinning wheel, various crocks of all shapes and sizes, china sets, and an assortment of chairs are also available.
A special room is set up for “man” treasures. It features items to decorate or furnish a man cave including a selection of advertising art, snowshoes, old oil cans, and bear traps.
Outside of the building there is an interesting selection of items for sale such as wooden doors and windows, a large white birdcage, wooden rocking chairs and a wide variety of other treasures.
A new feature being added to the existing retail shop is an outdoor flea market on weekends. New vendors are welcome. Those interested in displaying or renting space should give the store a call.
Inventory is constantly changing. Located at Pennsylvania Route 6 mile marker 151, Watson’s is open from 11am-7pm seven days a week. The address is 18270 Route 6, East Smethport, PA 16730. For additional information phone 814-331-1766.
CHICO’S CAFÉ & BAKE SHOPPE OPENS IN SMETHPORT
Smethport’s newest eatery is Chico’s Café & Bake Shoppe. Operated by Darlene and her son Carl Dorwood III, the new restaurant offers two distinctive dining experiences - an elegant dining room where the meals are served on a collection of Darlene’s mix-matched china, and a casual dining room with a soda fountain.
“People are so excited!” enthused Darlene Zickefoose Smith Dorwood. “We have already hosted one tea party in the dining room, and another group booked a wedding shower brunch in the dining room before we had even opened.”
Darlene expounds, “I have always dreamed of having a little place to host tea parties. As a young girl, my grandmother, Sarah Ellen Edgar, would host tea parties. I was allowed to put on a fancy outfit, complete with gloves, and decorate myself with tons of jewelry. As girls we would pin on a “can-can” - a floaty toile slip which adults used to wear under their prom dresses to wear at our tea party. Since we were so little, the large slips went to the floor, and in our minds they became elegant full-length gowns. I have great memories of attending these tea parties hosted by my grandmother. As I got older, I would host tea parties for friends. I collected hundreds of lovely teacups and teapots. The dining room allows me to get all of these teacups out of storage and put them to use hosting tea parties. I’m so pleased that my dream of a little space for tea parties has become a reality … it is just within a much larger space than I first imagined.”
Extensive renovation work has been done to the historic building since it was purchased. The wooden floors and tin ceiling are original, as is the exposed brick reaching up to the 14-ft. tall ceilings. Around the ceiling in the café you can see the original stained glass motifs saved during the restoration. Each of the motifs symbolizes a time period during the life of the building. In the dining room, a display case showcases the large selection of teacups available, just one of the many touches which make this restaurant special.
The menu includes a quiche of the day. Homemade English muffin bread is used for sandwiches. Menu items featured are hot dog and hamburger sliders, Texas hots, chili dogs, cheese dogs, homemade pretzels with cheese, beef on wick, and a variety of fish entrees. Their Signature Beef Burger is a delicious beef infused burger. The bakery case is brimming with delicious pastries, cookies, mini-cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and pies prepared daily at the in-house bakery. Pies are homemade (and this includes the crust!) Bar stool and table seating is available for up to 45 guests in the casual dining area. Take-out is available.
The old-fashioned soda fountain serves a variety of delicious treats including milkshakes, ice cream floats, ice cream sundaes and cherry cokes. The “Hubber Sundae” is named after the local Smethport school mascot. This ice cream treat is fashioned of a base layer of three scoops of ice-cream covered in peanut butter sauce with a sprinkling of chocolate-candy pieces, garnished with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
“I would like guests to know it is not a Mexican restaurant; it is named in memory of my son Justin Wayne Smith who is deceased, explained Darlene. “Chico was his nickname given him in high school during Spanish class, and he was very outgoing and very friendly so the restaurant is named in his memory.”
The café is open Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday from 7am-8pm, and Thursday/Friday/Saturday from 7am-9pm. Reservations are suggested for the dining room. To book a private party, to schedule a tea party, or to make a reservation please call the café at 814-568-2115. The café is located at 117 Main Street, Smethport, PA.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
A self-guided walking tour is available for the Smethport Historic District. For a full list of things to see and do, restaurants and lodging, the free 64-page, Allegheny National Forest Visitors Guide & Map is available by calling 800-473-9370. To download maps and other information go to www.visitANF.com.