10 Great Summer Events in the Pennsylvania Wilds
Summer in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
There’s nothing quite like it anywhere in the nation.
Where else can you take in a rodeo, a firefly spectacle, lumberjack competition, a bluegrass festival, classic rock music at the ruins of a century-old giant dam collapse, along with a week-long tribute to the region’s Native American tribes?
There’s something for everybody.
Here is just a sampling of some summertime fun festivities unique to the Pennsylvania Wilds:
We begin June with the annual Smoked Country Jam planned for June 13 and 14 in Cross Fork at the Quiet Oaks Campground, located in the Dark Skies Landscape. This is a family-friendly event that brings together performers from all branches of the bluegrass tree. Each year, national and regional artists perform more than 40 hours of music on two stages. There are also bluegrass workshops, children’s activities, a beautiful vendor midway and the Pennsylvania Heritage Songwriting Contest. Rustic camping is included with all full-festival tickets. Camping with hookups is available at an additional cost.
On June 23, it’s the Pennsylvania Firefly Festival at the Black Caddis Ranch along Route 666 in Kellettville. This year’s Firefly Festival (which sold-out in late May) in the deep woods of the Allegheny National Forest will see hundreds turn out for a dazzling nocturnal display featuring the firefly, Pennsylvania’s official state insect. The Firefly Festival was recently honored by PA Wilds with the 2018 Group Conservation Stewardship Award. (Read more about this festival here!)
Art in the Wilds, held in Downtown Kane, is set to roll June 23-24. Art in the Wilds is a free outdoor art show set in the beautifully wooded Evergreen Park in the center of Kane, on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest. More than 30 artists and artisans, as well as regional schools and student artists, participate. Evergreen Park is located on Route 66 (which is also S. Fraley Street) between Chestnut Street and Birch Street.
July kicks off with the 44th annual Bark Peelers Convention and Festival at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, located along Scenic Route 6 in Ulysses, on July 7 and 8. The PA Lumber Museum comes to life for this fun-filled two-day event. This is an annual historical celebration of the “wood hick” and the traditional logging activities of northern Pennsylvania’s past. The festival features live demonstrations and contests of logging and lumbering skills along with a rich display of interesting vendors.
On July 20-22 The Eliot Ness Fest: “Touched by the Untouchable” will take to the streets of downtown Coudersport, located in the Dark Skies Landscape. This annual historic festival pays tribute to Eliot Ness, Coudersport’s most famous citizen, who was instrumental in bringing down Chicago gangster Al Capone. Ness retired to Coudersport and spent the final years of his life in this Potter County community. The Ness Fest is designed to both entertain and educate the public on the life of this noted lawman with prominent speakers presenting fascinating programs, character actors, lively street theater performances, a vintage car show, parade, and fun events for adults and children.
The Endless Mountain Music Festival will take place July 20 – August 4 in the Pine Creek Valley & PA Grand Canyon region. This spectacular northern tier two-week music festival extends into various towns throughout Tioga County and southern New York State, bringing world-renowned musicians, enriching the cultural, economic and educational life of the “Twin Tiers” region. Classical music, along with Jazz, Choral, Celtic and Percussion are featured. The Festival kicks off Friday night July 20th with “Legends of the Silver Screen” featuring live orchestral music set to silver screen movie clips on two giant screens.
The “Toughest Show on Dirt” comes up on July 26-28 with the 39th annual Allegheny Mountain Championship Rodeo. The 600-acre Flying W Ranch on Route 666, Kellettville, in the Allegheny National Forest, is famous for hosting the annual PRCA-WPRA sanctioned championship rodeo. This action-packed event features bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, women’s barrel racing, bull riding and more. Specialty acts, concessions, vendors and a live country band are all part of the festivities.
The Forest County borough of Tionesta has hosted The Tionesta Indian Festival since 1965. This year’s event will be held downtown August 16 through 19. With a rich cultural history in the Allegheny National Forest region, Tionesta townspeople take pride in their Native American roots. The Tionesta Indian Festival includes dozens of family-friendly events and activities. The popular Indian Festival parade will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, August 18. The event includes arts-and-crafts vendors, sports tournaments, a pet parade, costume contest, a pageant, a fun park for the kids, bingo and fireworks.
On August 18, jazz lovers will be heading to the LH JAMS Festival (Lock Haven Jazz And Art on Main Street), an annual I-80 Frontier experience. This outstanding jazz festival and downtown block party features outdoor and indoor performances, as well as artisan and food exhibitors. Organized by the Clinton County Arts Council, there is something for everyone, from the soft sounds of the PA Jazz Collective, to the “hit you in the face” nine-member jazz-rock group The Chicago Authority. There will be eight musical performances on Main Street, plus a special river amphitheater concert, followed by evening concerts at five downtown locations.
On August 24 and 25, The Austin Dam Show brings live classic rock music to the Dark Skies of the Pennsylvania Wilds. The show is held at the Austin Dam Memorial Park in the backdrop of the ruins of a giant concrete dam that failed more than a century ago. The ruins and surrounding mountains create a natural amphitheater for music lovers to enjoy live classic rock at “the Classic Rock”. The 76-acre park is privately owned and operated by the Austin Dam Memorial Association, a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve the remains of the Austin Dam and the memory of the 78 people who lost their lives when the dam collapsed on September 30, 1911.