The Allegheny National Forest is alive with the sounds of music, laughter and families having fun during the warm summer days of August. The McKean County Fair, the Festa Italiana, and the Mt. Jewett Swedish Festival add to the fun. A new display at the McCleery Discovery Center at the Kane Depot offers a look into the exciting story of the Lobo Wolves of Kane, and a new walking tour brochure of Bradford’s National Historic District is great for architecture and history enthusiasts.
BLUE RIBBON DREAMS AT THE McKEAN COUNTY FAIR
A true old-fashioned county fair with tractors, livestock, and blue ribbons for the best produce, livestock, and home-baked pies, the 112th McKean County Fair runs from Aug. 12-19.
Tractor Games at 1pm on Saturday, Aug. 12 kick off a week of fun at the McKean County Fair held in East Smethport, Pennsylvania. Opening ceremonies are at 6pm on Sunday, Aug. 13, with Sunshine Shows Amusement rides gearing up Monday, Aug. 14, along with a pet show, rabbit judging, and dog obedience/obstacle course, followed by the Grand Parade at 7pm and the Battle of the Bands at 8pm.
Tuesday, Aug. 15 is Energy Day at the McKean County Fair. The Mobile Energy Education and Training Unit will be at the fair all day. You will have to get up with the chickens to enjoy the chicken judging which starts at 8am. The 4-H Open Horse Show and the 4-H Open Dairy Shows are at 10am. Amusement rides begin at 5pm, a baked food auction is at 6pm, and the band Marshmallow Overcoat will perform at 6pm. The Full Pit Drag Racing (local talent) begins at 7:30pm in the Track Area.
Wednesday, Aug. 16 is Veterans Day. All veterans and active duty personnel, with proof of military service, will be admitted free onto the grounds. Come enjoy the Miniature Horse Pull at 6pm, or the Twin Tiers Community Band which will perform from 6-7pm, followed by the Big Block Modified Tour in the Track Area, starting at 7:30pm.
Senior Citizens Day is Thursday, Aug. 17. Those over the age of 62 will be admitted onto the fairgrounds for free all day. Highlights include the Horse & Pony Judging at 10am, the 4-H Livestock Sale at 6pm, the Barr Family Band at 7pm, and the Barn Dance from 9-11pm at the Old Show Arena.
Friday, Aug. 18 features 4-H Pony Rides at 3pm, Goat Obstacle Course & Animal Dress Up at 4:30pm, the Talent Show at 6pm, and the Painted Pony Rodeo at 7pm, with the evening’s main attraction singer Morgan Wallen performing at 8pm.
Saturday, Aug. 19 is Fire Prevention Day and demonstrations by local fire departments will take place from 11am-5pm, a Karaoke Contest begins at 1pm, Larry Lewicki (Polka) performs from 2-6pm, an auction of items made by glass blower Ryan Gothrup will be at 5pm, followed by the Demo Derby at 6pm, with the Queen Coronation Contest at 8pm.
Children’s amusement rides start at 5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Admission to the McKean County Fair is $8.00, which includes exhibits, shows and rides. Additional fees are $20 for the Full Drag Racing on Tuesday, $27 for the Big Block Modified Tour on Wednesday, $20 for the Rush Late Model Touring Series on Thursday, and $10 for tickets to the Morgan Wallen performance on Friday.
The McKean County Fair is located at Route 46 South, Smethport, PA. For a full list of all the activities, times, and events call 814-887-5361 or visit mckeancountyfair.net.
LOBO WOLVES OF KANE
A new exhibit at the McCleery Discovery Center, housed at the historic Kane Depot in Kane, Pennsylvania showcases the fascinating story of the Lobo Wolf, and how Dr. Edward H. McCleery, a physician, helped to save this sub-species from extinction.
In the 1920’s Lobo wolves, (Canis lupus nubilus) the Great Plains Wolf, were being exterminated by the United States Biological Survey and the Canadian government as they were considered extremely dangerous to the large population of cattle in the western states.
Dr. McCleery, a great admirer of wolves from the time he lived in Wyoming, became a champion dedicated to the survival of the Lobo Wolves. He obtained his first wolf from Wyoming in January 1921, bringing him to Kane, PA, and naming him Jerry. In May, 1921, he obtained an additional four white wolves, naming them Lobe, Boreas, Montana and Diana. Later he obtained more wolves, bred those that he had, and eventually ended up with 60 wolves in his pack. A large lobo wolf could weigh as much as 130 pounds.
The wolves were exhibited at a wolf park along U.S. Route 6 just east of Kane for over 40 years. The wolf park was a very popular tourist attraction in Kane. McCleery cared for the wolves until his death in 1962, at the age of 94. The wolves were then cared for by the Lynches who operated the park until 1972. A Pennsylvania Historic Sign along Route 6 now marks the location of where the park was located.
McCleery wrote a book entitled “The Lone Killer,” about the wolves; this book has recently been reprinted and is now for sale at the McCleery Discovery Center at the Kane Depot. McCleery’s life-long dedication to saving “the Lobo Wolves” has received world-wide recognition. A second historic novel, "The Wolf Man of Kane, Pennsylvania," written by Nancy Avolese is also available at the Center and entails the life and times of Dr McCleery and his Lobo Wolves.
The Lobo Wolf display, which includes original letters dating back to the early 1920's, photos, wolf skulls, wolf pelts, and video, can be viewed at the McCleery Discovery Center. The Center is located within the Kane Depot at 1 South Fraley Street, at the intersection of Rt. 66 & Rt. 6 in Kane, PA. Hours are Friday 11am-4pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday noon-4pm and Wednesday 6:30-9:30pm. For additional information go to mccleerydiscoverycenter.org.
BACKWOODS TO BOOMTOWN
An exciting, 18-page brochure, A Walking Tour of Bradford’s National Historic District, is now available. The brochure features architectural and historical highlights of 25 buildings within Bradford’s National Historic District with a detailed, numbered map of building locations. Many of the signature buildings within the district are excellent examples of Art Deco architecture including the Hooker-Fulton Building and Marilyn Horne Hall.
The Bradford Walking Tour Brochure encourages visitors to “look up” to experience a sampling of Bradford’s beautiful architecture and rich history. As the brochure’s beginning text describes, “If you listen carefully, you might be able to hear the steady hammering of nails on a makeshift mercantile, an investor plunking down a gold bar at the Option House as he throws back a shot of whiskey, and oil producers passing out cigars to celebrate a successful deal.”
Each building featured includes a photo and a short history. One of the buildings highlighted on the walking tour is 9 Kennedy Street, home of Graham’s Florist & Gifts. This building was originally designed to house a bank, but the bank went under before it was completed. Lucky for George Graham, who opened Bradford’s first greenhouse in 1891 - he knew it would be the perfect place to sell his fresh-cut flowers and plants. On opening day, Graham gave away 3,000 rosebuds, one for each person who came through his impressive doorway.
The brochure is available free of charge at the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau’s Welcome Center located at 80 E. Corydon Street in Bradford. If you would like a free copy of the brochure please contact info@visitANF.com or call 800-473-9370; or you can download a copy of the brochure at visitANF.com.
Discover Oil! Admission is free during this annual event at the Penn Brad Oil Museum which showcases the history of the local oil industry. There will be demonstrations of early oil field equipment. Hear the “Wild Catting Tales” at the site of their 72-foot tall 1890 Standard Rig. Experience the excitement of the first billion dollar oil field - the Bradford Sands. Learn about yellow dogs, barkers and hurry-up sticks. Tour the oil lease house. Food and drink will be available for purchase.
Derrick Day at the Penn Brad Oil Museum will be held Saturday, Aug. 19 from 11am-5pm. The museum is located at 901 South Avenue in Bradford, PA (approximately 3 miles south of Bradford along Rt. 219).
TEST YOUR ATHLETIC SKILLS
If you love to bike, hike and swim, two upcoming events - both held on Saturday, Aug. 5 - will test your skills. The Willow Creek Triathlon starts with a swim at Quaker Lake Beach House in Allegany State Park and ends at The Willows Restaurant in Bradford. The triathlon can be done in teams or solo. Participants swim 300 yards, bike 15 miles, and run 3 miles. The event supports Disabled American Veterans. Find details at willowcreektriathlon.com.
The Kinzua Country Tango challenges you to test your skills and athletic abilities in this endurance race - alone or as a team. The Race begins with a 13.1-mile running course that starts in Warren at the YMCA and leads to Kinzua Beach within the Allegheny National Forest. Segment two is a 20-mile bike ride consisting of non-technical mountain biking on National Forest roads. The third segment is a 2.2-mile out and back swim. The fourth segment will be a 6+ mile orienteering course on foot. The fifth segment is a short 1 to 4-mile trail run. The last leg will be approximately a 7-mile paddle on the Kinzua Reservoir.
The Kinzua Beach will be the transition point for the final legs of the race and will be the location for the awards ceremony and victory celebration after-party. Go to kinzuacountrytango.com.
ITALIAN & SWEDISH FESTIVALS
Two upcoming festivals offer authentic Italian and Swedish cuisine. The Festa Italiana, Aug. 10-12, honors the Italian heritage of the City of Bradford along Festival Way in Bradford. Italian food, music, children’s rides, and live entertainment nightly will offer loads of fun for the entire family.
The Mt. Jewett Swedish Festival, Aug. 11-13 in Mt. Jewett, honors the Swedish foods and traditions of the first settlers to Mt. Jewett. Enjoy a smorgasboard on Saturday and the Viking Ship Race on Sunday.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
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.