Monday, December 23, 2013

Two Festivals

While we were in Pennsylvania, we tried to get out and experience as much of the local festivities as we could.  It was fall while we were there and, to our delight, there was a festival of some sort nearly every weekend.

The second weekend in October found us taking a little drive to Waterville, PA, where we enjoyed two festivals in one day!  This little town is off the beaten path with a population of less than 400 but a welcoming spirit as big and warm as any you will find.  We SO enjoyed our day in their town...

Our first stop of the day was at the Little Pine State Park Fall Festival.  This park is beautiful...very quiet and peaceful.  We had been there once before and the feeling was the same both times, very calming. 

This festival was very different from the one we went to in Lewisburg.  There were no rides, no games...the focus was more on the enjoyment and practical uses of our natural resources.  Very educational and also very fun :)!  They did have a face painting booth that was popular with the kids, mine included...

A dove... kitty with one white paw...

...and the NPS symbol!

Just beside the face painting booth, in an open area, my boys noticed a falconry demonstration getting started.  One by one (as each had their painting done) we all wandered over to check it out.  So glad we did!  The birds were all beautiful and so smart!  Falcons are cool.

Audrey even got to participate in one of the demonstrations...

She said the hawk's wings brushed against her as it flew by :).  Very exciting stuff!

The poor owl was upset.  He (or she? can't remember) kept puffing up his feathers and acting nervous.  He was really pretty, though...

In the pavilion next to the field, there was a large display of Native American tools and things made out of different plants and animal parts...and the kids were encouraged to touch all of it!  So nice when things are "hands on"!  There were many neat things, but the one I remember the most was some cattails (you know, the soft brown things that grow in wet areas?).  The sign said that the cattail fluff was used to line babies diapers...(don't know why that stood out to me, but it did). 

Just on the other side of the pavilion were two men working some deer hides and using stone tools to skin a deer head.  They spared no details...lets just say it was informative but also gross!

There was a booth handing out Smokey Bear goodies, trail maps, etc.  Another booth that provided info on the PA elk herd...these guys were also handing out elk calls to the kids.  Very LOUD elk calls...oy.  That was fun (haha).  There was another booth that had animal pelts on display for the kids to pet and examine.  The gentlemen running the pelt booth were really sweet, they shared some good facts with the kids and had fun joking around with them :).

We bought some maple syrup and maple candy from a PA maple farmer.  They answered all of our questions and told us that we were welcome to come out to their farm and take a tour sometime.  How fun!  Definitely want to do that some day, their syrup is delicious :).

The one thing missing was a bear.  The PA Game Commission tries to have one each year at the festival, but they were unable to catch one the day before.  I don't know what exactly they do with this bear, but my boys were anxious to find out.  Oh well...maybe next time on that :).

It was getting later in the day, so we decided to head on over to the second festival that was in town...the Waterville Apple Butter Festival!  This festival is held annually as a fundraiser for the Waterville Volunteer Fire Dept.  The firemen cook up huge kettles of apple butter outside over several fires and then sell the canned goodness.  A lot of hard work and a lot of fun!

The kids all got to take a turn stirring the kettles of apple butter.  It has to be stirred constantly to keep it from scorching...the fireman are happy for ANY help with this arm breaking task.  It's way harder than it looks!

We purchased as much apple butter as we could carry (we love it on toast with a link of sausage!) and then set off to see the different booths.

This festival was really small, but the friendliness of everyone there made for a great time!  There was live music and some good food...we each bought a square of homemade fudge.  There were a couple of little games that cost a quarter to play.  And there were just enough booths selling things that everyone found a special little something to take home.  Our favorite booth was run by the sweetest lady.  She helped the kids pick out a glass charm, all the while chatting and smiling with them :).

On the way back to our car, we spotted a little park with some swings.  So of course we had to give them a whirl...

When we got to our car ready to go, I realized that my phone had absolutely no signal and therefore no gps.  I had followed the gps to get to Waterville and had intended to follow it to get back to the campground where we were staying.  Not happening.  I had a pretty good idea of where to go, but to be sure I wanted to ask a local.  Well, remember how nice I told you they all were?  It's true!  The couple that I asked hopped in their car and told me to just follow them to the interstate (and back to the land of phone signal).

Waterville, thank you for your hospitality!  We had such a good day :)!

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