PA State Laurel Festival, PA Wilds Initiative Share Common Bond
It’s June and festivities are happening around each corner across the Pennsylvania Wilds – celebrating the solstice, the summer holidays and more.
Did you know that Mountain Laurel is the designated flower for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?
It begins to blossom in full this month and each year a special event is held in its honor right here in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
The 77th PA State Laurel Festival will kick off on June 9 and run through June 17 this year.
Held in Wellsboro, located in the Pine Creek Valley and PA Grand Canyon Landscape, the week-long festival features dozens of juried fine art, craft and food vendors, as well as a Queens Pageant, musical performances, informational booths and much more. The primary spectacle, however, is the two-hour parade that closes out the event. (This year, the parade is planned for Saturday, June 17.)
Last year, I attended the event for the first time, joining Brian Plume and Scott Miller from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry at their exhibitor space. While there I learned about how the annual festival directly ties into the mission of the Pennsylvania Wilds movement.
The festival, launched in 1938, began with hopes similar to those of the PA Wilds movement: economic development, conservation of natural resources, and promotion of our rural region.
Larry Woodin, a Wellsboro area entrepreneur, thought up the event as a way to boost the economy through promotion of the region’s headliner experience: the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, a.k.a the Pine Creek Gorge.
Organized then by the Lions Club, today the event is administered by the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce and volunteers, is sponsored by the Wellsboro Foundation, Inc. and it is quite the sight to see.
Thousands of visitors descend upon the borough to take part.
The Green, a large greenspace in downtown Wellsboro, becomes a mercantile plaza – with exhibitors and entrepreneurs working directly with attendees. Exhibitors travel from near and far to participate – from Wellsboro and Tioga County natives to folks from throughout the state, in addition to others from Connecticut, Delaware and farther. Locals and travelers also come together to celebrate the surrounding nature and artisans.
If you weren’t able to make it to last year’s event – make sure to check it out this year. You don’t want to miss out!
Learn more about the PA State Laurel Festival here.
Or, get adventurous and consider taking a self-guided tour to find mountain laurel in the Pennsylvania Wilds, by checking out this tour, developed by the Clinton County Visitors Bureau and Sproul Forestry Office.