Cel­e­brat­ing his­tory

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COPY ED­I­TOR Con­tact the writer: dprosick@re­pub­li­can­her­ald.com; 570-628-6002

Two-hun­dred-fifty years of coal, 100 years since World War I and 45 years since the lo­cal his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety was founded — an event this week­end in east­ern Schuylkill County of­fers a lot to look back on, and a lot to look for­ward to.

The 34th Ta­maqua Her­itage Fes­ti­val, or­ga­nized by the Ta­maqua His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun­day in down­town Ta­maqua. The event will fea­ture ven­dors of all kinds, mu­sic, his­tor­i­cal ex­hibits and more, and will be held rain or shine, ac­cord­ing to Dale Freuden­berger, his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety pres­i­dent.

“The Ta­maqua Her­itage Fes­ti­val is a com­mu­nity cel­e­bra­tion of the rich his­tory and cul­ture of the greater Ta­maqua area. Over the years, it has be­come sort of a home­com­ing, where we find that fam­i­lies that have roots in Ta­maqua come back to town for the her­itage fes­ti­val,” Freuden­berger said. “Rel­a­tives from out of town get to­gether, come down­town to have a good time and cel­e­brate kind of the last hur­rah of sum­mer sea­son, start of the fall/au­tumn sea­son as well as the hol­i­day sea­son.”

The fes­ti­val has taken on a unique mo­tif this year in honor of the quar­ter-mil­le­nium since coal brought peo­ple to the area, and gave birth to these com­mu­ni­ties, Freuden­berger said.

“It’s like a year­long cel­e­bra­tion. We’ve done a cou­ple of events through­out the year. When we were plan­ning our her­itage fes­ti­val, we had a lit­tle bit more of a spe­cial twist on it. We have a cou­ple of things that are geared to­ward coal his­tory and coal her­itage

and cul­ture as part of our fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tion.”

Some of those things in­clude ex­hibits at the Ta­maqua Area His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum, 118 W. Broad St., such as the dis­cov­ery and min­ing of coal, the rail­roads used to trans­port the black di­a­monds, im­mi­gra­tion, Molly Maguires and much more, ac­cord­ing to a his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety press re­lease.

At the Mu­seum An­nex and Gallery at 114 W. Broad St. there will be a spe­cial art ex­hibit ti­tled the “Art of An­thracite” which will fea­ture about 40 paint­ings by Ta­maqua na­tive Harry K. Sny­der, with some de­pict­ing coal break­ers through­out the An­thracite Coal Re­gion. An­other ex­hibit will fea­ture Ta­maqua artist John G. Scott, and, the press re­lease noted, the gallery will be fea­tur­ing a new paint­ing by him.

In ad­di­tion to the an­niver­sary of an­thracite, there will be a spe­cial dis­play and re-en­ac­tors hon­or­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of World War I.

More­over, the or­ga­ni­za­tion that makes the event pos­si­ble — the Ta­maqua His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety — will be cel­e­brat­ing its 45th year of doc­u­ment­ing the area’s past go­ings-on and ed­u­cat­ing the pub­lic.

“It’s a long time,” Freuden­berger said. “I never dreamed we’d be cel­e­brat­ing the 45th an­niver­sary. Not that it wasn’t a good thing from the start. It’s just a long time; I’ve just never looked that far ahead . ... I’ve been here as a mem­ber of the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety for 44 of those 45 years.”

And, de­spite the loom­ing threat of some side-ef­fect pre­cip­i­ta­tion from Hur­ri­cane Michael, Freuden­berger be­lieves luck is on the side of Ta­maqua when it comes to these events.

“In 45 years of do­ing this, we’ve never can­celed and have never been what I would call ‘rained out,’ ” he said. “Our track record has been very for­tu­nate.”

Rain or no rain, his­tory or not, there will be plenty more to ex­pe­ri­ence in the bor­ough’s down­town, from Don Camp­bell ham­mer­ing away at iron at the 1848 He­garty Black­smith Shop; au­thor Daniel Ur­ban, a Coal­dale na­tive, signing and sell­ing copies of his new book “Grow Up Al­ready!”; a va­ri­ety of mu­sic, from live mu­si­cians Jay Smar or Dave Matsinko, or se­lec­tions from WMGH’s Polka Joe Man­jack; pints of brew from Stoker’s Brew­ing Co., in­clud­ing Patch­town Brown, a nut brown ale made es­pe­cially for the fest; Leiby’s Car­riage Rides; tours of Padora’s more than a cen­tury-old coal-fired bak­ery; and an ab­so­lutely colos­sal va­ri­ety of food.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the Ta­maqua His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety at 610-597-6722; email Freuden­berger at dale­freud@gmail.com; or visit the his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety Face­book page.

JACQUE­LINE DORMER / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Bob Mis­chak, Ed­wardsville, left, and Bob Vy­bren­ner, Ta­maqua, check out a How­itzer shell cas­ing that was part of a spe­cial dis­play dur­ing last year’s Ta­maqua Her­itage Fes­ti­val. This year’s fes­ti­val will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun­day in down­town Ta­maqua.

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