An­nual Hay Creek Fes­ti­val to trans­port at­ten­dees back in time.

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE - From Mark Zerr

The Hay Creek His­to­ri­ans in­vite fam­i­lies to join them at the 42nd edi­tion of the Hay Creek Fes­ti­val to be held at His­toric Joanna Fur­nace Iron Works near Mor­gan­town on Sept. 7, 8 and 9.

This fes­ti­val is one of the most com­pre­hen­sive his­tor­i­cal events in South­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia.

Here vis­i­tors travel through time and ex­pe­ri­ence life in a ru­ral in­dus­trial iron-mak­ing vil­lage. The in­ter­pre­ta­tion time­line runs from the be­gin­nings of the fur­nace in 1791 up to the 1950s. Vis­i­tors will ex­pe­ri­ence the sights, sounds, aro­mas and ac­tiv­i­ties which have long dis­ap­peared from con­tem­po­rary life.

For al­most four gen­er­a­tions, fam­i­lies have been re­turn­ing to, what has be­come for them, a “can’tmiss” fam­ily tra­di­tion. Young­sters, whose fam­i­lies at­tended in the early days, are now grown and re­turn with their own chil­dren. The Hay Creek Fes­ti­val en­com­passes all that is good about the life and her­itage in South­east Penn­syl­va­nia over two cen­turies— all the things that set the ba­sis for to­day’s area life­style. It recre­ates what life was like be­fore cell phones, mass-pro­duced goods, pro­cessed foods, high-speed transportation and dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy.

The re­sult is that vis­i­tors have many unique op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn about the quiet life and gru­el­ing work that peo­ple en­dured to thrive dur­ing that sim­pler time. The tra­di­tions, life­style and val­ues of the Joanna Fur­nace Com­mu­nity res­i­dents and the iron­work­ers are recre­ated to al­low vis­i­tors to ex­am­ine their own fam­ily her­itage and tra­di­tions. The Fes­ti­val ex­pe­ri­ence, as in­ter­preted by the Hay Creek His­to­ri­ans, is sup­ported by al­most 1,200 vol­un­teers, crafts per­sons, ar­ti­sans, food servers, me­chan­i­cal tech­nol­o­gists and mem­bers of part­ner­ing com­mu­nity non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The 2018 main fes­ti­val events run all three days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a spe­cial Satur­day even­ing mu­si­cal pro­gram at 6 p.m. by up-and-com­ing country singer Sam Sch­midthu­ber. This year’s edi­tion prom­ises the same time-de­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and, as al­ways, is en­livened through a di­verse ar­ray of at­trac­tions.

All types of food will be avail­able from early Amer­i­can open fire cooked food sam­ples, baked goods, tra­di­tional old-time foods, to pop­u­lar fair-type foods. Satur­day and Sun­day morn­ings vis­i­tors can en­joy the Iron­mas­ter’s Break­fast Buf­fet served in Mule Sta­ble build­ing. The break­fast runs from 8 to 11 am.

Again, this year, an­tique ve­hi­cle, trac­tor, or en­gine par­tic­i­pants will be en­cour­aged to en­ter their ve­hi­cles and en­gines in the Me­chan­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy Ex­hi­bi­tion Con­test. Vis­i­tors will judge the tech­nol­ogy area dis­plays. The tech­nol­ogy par­tic­i­pant awards will be given as the re­sults of vis­i­tor votes.

Other unique at­trac­tions, which are sure to please, in­clude demon­stra­tions of early food preser­va­tion from the days be­fore re­frig­er­a­tors. Food in­ter­preters will bake tra­di­tional home-baked bread in the out­door bake ovens. Home­made soups will be cooked over open fires just as they were 150 years ago. Vis­i­tors can also see an ex­panded Civil War en­camp­ment in­clud­ing both Fed­eral and Con­fed­er­ate units. A Civil War era apothe­cary will be open in the Early Amer­i­can Craft Sec­tion.

Trained in­ter­preters will be sta­tioned in the re­stored his­toric iron-mak­ing com­plex build­ings, Black­smith Shop, Cast­ing House, Of­fice/ Store and Char­coal House Mu­seum. The in­ter­preters will demon­strate and tell vis­i­tors about the ac­tiv­i­ties that went on within each build­ing over the 106 years the fur­nace was in op­er­a­tion. A free video show­ing the fur­nace his­tory, iron pro­duc­tion pro­cesses and the restora­tion ef­forts of the Hay Creek Val­ley His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion will be shown con­tin­u­ously in the Blow­ing En­gine House.

In­side the vast Me­chan­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy Build­ing, a line shaft will be pow­er­ing ac­tual 19th Cen­tury ma­chin­ery show­ing the early days of man­u­fac­tur­ing in the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion. In­ter­preters will out­line the story of the iron­mas­ter’s man­sion that stood un­til 1960. Tra­di­tional ar­ti­sans will demon­strate the do­mes­tic and vil­lage in­dus­tries which made the old com­mu­nity self-suf­fi­cient.

“We must teach skills like wood­work­ing, metal cast­ing, food preser­va­tion, and sewing to our chil­dren so they can un­der­stand how the world works,” said Hay Creek Fes­ti­val In­ter­preter Jack Woods.

“At the same time, the Hay Creek Fes­ti­val makes it fun for ev­ery­one to learn about early Amer­i­can crafts and trades. The in­clu­sion of nu­mer­ous hands-on and early Amer­i­can food sam­pling ac­tiv­i­ties will en­gage the whole fam­ily. Peo­ple learn bet­ter by do­ing. So, we in­vite fes­ti­val vis­i­tors to roll up their sleeves and par­tic­i­pate in hands-on crafts like can­dle mak­ing, sauer­kraut prepa­ra­tion, pa­per­mak­ing, weav­ing, quilling and so many more,” said Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Mark Zerr.

“And some­thing for the young­sters (of all ages) is the Joanna Fur­nace chore list. On ar­riv­ing at the his­toric site, they re­ceive a list of “chores” to ac­com­plish, items to look for, ask in­ter­preters about and then have in­ter­preters to sign off the “chores” on the sheet. These chores and points of in­ter­est are placed through­out the site. Chil­dren (and chil­dren at heart) earn a free wagon ride when they col­lect some sig­na­tures from the sta­tion in­ter­preters.

“Fam­i­lies, when ar­riv­ing at past fes­ti­vals, some­times planned their day around the chore lists, so that they were sure not to miss any ar­eas through­out the 26acre his­toric site. I’m happy that we can of­fer this free op­tional hands-on fea­ture,” Zerr said.

The three-day fes­ti­val kicks off with a stu­dent-fo­cused Ed­u­ca­tion Day on Fri­day. The fes­ti­val is open to the pub­lic all three days, but stu­dent/school and home­school groups en­joy re­duced ad­mis­sion only on Fri­day, the first day of the fes­ti­val.

Note for Fri­day only, for stu­dent groups ar­riv­ing by car, van or bus . . . These groups should plan on en­ter­ing the event through the Fur­nace Road en­trance (not from Route 10 en­trance as in pre­vi­ous years).

All ve­hi­cle park­ing on Fri­day will be on the his­toric site park­ing lot en­tered from Fur­nace Road. There will be no off-site park­ing on Fri­day.

All park­ing on Satur­day and Sun­day will be at the off-site lot along Route 10 about two miles south of Joanna Fur­nace. Free shut­tle bus ser­vice to and from the Joanna Fur­nace site will run con­tin­u­ously Satur­day and Sun­day only.

All young­sters and stu­dents who can’t at­tend the Fri­day Ed­u­ca­tion Day can par­tic­i­pate with their fam­i­lies in the same ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties on Satur­day and Sun­day as well.

The Hay Creek Fes­ti­val of­fers a wide va­ri­ety of se­lected ven­dors pro­vid­ing hand-made crafts for pur­chase in the Creek­side Crafts sec­tion. “We like to of­fer unique gifts and prod­ucts you can’t find in a store. All of our crafts­men pro­duce what they sell, so you can find one-of-a-kind items just as you would find at high-qual­ity craft shows,” said Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Zerr. The Creek­side Crafts sec­tion of­fers an ar­ray of orig­i­nal items in­clud­ing pot­tery, jew­elry, ce­ram­ics, wood­crafts, soaps and much more.

The whole fam­ily will en­joy the full sched­ule of on­stage en­ter­tain­ment the Hay Creek Fes­ti­val of­fers. “We try to space it out, so the child-fo­cused en­ter­tain­ment hap­pens ear­lier in the day, over all three days and we have the mu­si­cal fam­ily-ori­ented en­ter­tain­ment in the late af­ter­noon. Each day is packed with en­ter­tain­ment that will get the whole fam­ily learn­ing . . . to­gether,” said Zerr.

This year, the en­ter­tain­ment in­cludes Ven­tril­o­quist Mar­ion Gehman and Friends, Tig­gar’s Prop com­edy Magic Show, Chris Ivey Jug­gler, Galena Brass Band, the For­got­ten Friend An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary and pe­riod danc­ing, in which chil­dren and adults are in­vited to par­tic­i­pate. In ad­di­tion, on Satur­day even­ing from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. 2018 nom­i­nee for the Josie Mu­sic Awards Sam Sch­midthu­ber will per­form! Sam is in the run­ning to re­ceive the Young Adult Artist of the Year/Young Adult Vo­cal­ist of the Year award.

To learn more about the Hay Creek Fes­ti­val, visit www.hay­, call 610-286-0388, or email info@hay­ His­toric Joanna Fur­nace Iron Works is lo­cated three miles north of Mor­gan­town on Route 10. The Hay Creek Val­ley His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion is a reg­is­tered non-profit 501 (C)(3) or­ga­ni­za­tion with all pro­ceeds go­ing to the re­search, restora­tion and ed­u­ca­tional en­deav­ors of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.


Eileen Col­li­gan of Lan­caster demon­strates rug braid­ing at the Hay Creek Fes­ti­val.

David Ny­man of Perkasie will demon­strate and sell his pewter cast­ings at the an­nual Hay Creek Fes­ti­val.

An­tique steam en­gines, trac­tors and cars will be in op­er­a­tion and on dis­play at the 2018 Hay Creek Fes­ti­val.

Country Singer Sam Sch­midthu­ber will per­form at the Hay Creek Fes­ti­val.

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