Often the best way to really experience a place is to get to know its people. County fairs, church festivals, and community block parties are among the best ways to get some insight into the traditions and customs of a community. The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area boasts dozens of fairs and festivals during every season of the year.
There are ethnic festivals with food from around the world that can’t be beat, county and local fairs that showcase the bounty of the region’s farms, and community festivals that give neighbors a chance to be.neighborly! For an experience you’re not likely to forget visit one of these great events for a look at what makes the Schuylkill River Heritage Area unique through the eyes of its residents.
One of the best reasons to visit a community festival is to eat. The diversity of cultures within the Heritage Area’s communities means that you’ll find every type of food imaginable at one place or another.
Schuylkill County is particularly well known for the diversity of food at its fairs and festivals. Pierogies, kielbasa, souvlaki, curry, and empanadas are common items on the menus of community festivals. Shenandoah Heritage Day, Orwigsburg Heritage Day, and the Friedensburg Block Party are just a few of the many places to satisfy your appetite in Schuylkill County. Check out the spreads at these events (and be sure to save room for desert).
The early settlement of this region and the industrial boom of the 19th and 20th centuries brought immigrants from around the world to the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. Descendants of these immigrants as well as new immigrant groups make the towns and cities across the Heritage Area unique and interesting places to visit. Many of these groups sponsor festivals to showcase all that their culture has to offer including food, song, dance, and one of a kind crafts. The Kutztown Pennsylvania German Festival, the Clover Fire Company Irish Weekend, and the Odunde Festival in Philadelphia are just a few examples of the diverse cultural festivals in the region’s communities
For some, the only way to understand the past is to experience it firsthand. Historical societies, museums, and folklore organizations across the Heritage Area sponsor living history events throughout the year to allow visitors to take a step back for a little while. Whether you want to don a Continental Army uniform, dip homemade candles over the fire, or experience an archaeological dig, there’s something here for you. Heritage Day at the Daniel Boone Homestead, the Goshenhoppen Festival, and Founding Day at Hopewell Furnace are great ways for the entire family to get into the past.