Lokie lore and more

Pioneer Day in 26th year

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COPY ED­I­TOR Con­tact the writer: [email protected]­pub­li­can­her­ald.com; 570-628-6002

Atourist at­trac­tion borne out of the hard-work ethic and an­thracite mine-laden his­tory of the Coal Re­gion will be host­ing an all-day fam­ily event this week­end in a north­ern Schuylkill County com­mu­nity.

The 26th Pioneer Day, cel­e­brat­ing 56 years of the Pioneer Tun­nel Coal Mine & Steam Train, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Satur­day at the tun­nel and nearby HigherUps Park, 19th and Oak streets, Ash­land. There is no cost to en­ter, ac­cord­ing to Chastity Mo­ran, Pioneer Tun­nel busi­ness man­ager.

The event will go on rain or shine, she said.

“There’s a lot to do for any age group. We have The Shore­lin­ers per­form­ing . ... We also have the coal mine tours and the steam train run­ning that day, and ad­di­tion­ally we’ll have two spe­cial char­ac­ters here that day,” Mo­ran said. “We’ll have Bat­man and we’ll also have a min­ion from the movie ‘De­spi­ca­ble Me’ here in­ter­act­ing with the kids. It’s just a re­ally fun, laid-back day with good food and good mem­o­ries.”

Whether it be mem­o­ries to be made or mem­o­ries that hear­ken back to the early days of the at­trac­tion, there will be plenty to do at Pioneer Day, in­clud­ing the coal mine tours in the cool 52-de­gree tun­nel and rides on the freshly re­fur­bished, 91-year-old Henry Clay steam train. The mine tours will start at 10:30 a.m., with the last be­ing at 4:30 p.m., Mo­ran said. The train rides will start at 11:15 a.m., with the fi­nal ride at 3:45 p.m.

The tours won’t be the only en­ter­tain­ment go­ing on in the side of the Ma­hanoy Moun­tain, as The Breaker Boys will be in there putting on a show of their own.

“They’re old-fash­ioned coal min­ers, and they do some songs in­side the mine and it’s a re­ally in­ter­ac­tive, fun skit they do,” Mo­ran said.

In ad­di­tion, there will be a slew of ven­dors at the get-to­gether as well, sell­ing crafts and food alike.

On the craft front, Mo­ran said, ven­dors will be sell­ing blan­kets, T-shirts, Scentsy prod­ucts, wood­work­ings and carv­ings, sports col­lectibles, Pam­pered Chef culi­nary items, jewelry, cro­cheted items and even home­made slime. Scotty McCoy, a lo­cal au­thor, will be there do­ing book sign­ings, Mo­ran said, adding that kids can also get free face paint­ings.

Mean­while, there will be a vast va­ri­ety of food, in­clud­ing Wil­bur­ton Fire Com­pany’s blee­nies; M&M’s halup­kis, halushki, piero­gies, mac ‘n’ cheese, pulled pork and kiel­basa; Groody’s Cater­ing sell­ing ham­burg­ers, hot dogs and pizza; Lilly Q’s bar­be­cue shack; Freema­sons’ chicken bar­be­cue din­ners; and, new this year, My Pop’s Place food truck will be serv­ing up kiel­basa po’boy, cheese fries, crabby fries and more.

Mary K’s Fab­u­lous Fun­nel Cakes will be dol­ing out the pow­dered sugar-topped fa­vorite, while Bethany Evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian Church will have ap­ple dumplings. Egyp­tian food will be avail­able, as will walk­ing tacos, chicken fin­gers, meat­ball hoa­gies and other fare, Mo­ran said.

There will be fundrais­ing for dif­fer­ent Ash­land area or­ga­ni­za­tions. Do­ing some fundrais­ing will be the Ash­land VFW, Ash­land Pub­lic Li­brary, Ash­land Area His­toric Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety, Or­der of the East­ern Star, Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 434, Ash­land Girls’ Soft­ball, Ash­land Black Di­a­mond Cheer­lead­ers and Hill­side SPCA, Pottsville.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Pioneer Day, call the tun­nel at 570-8753850, visit its web­site at www.pi­o­neer­tun­nel.com or find Pioneer Day on Face­book.

DAVID MCKE­OWN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Tom Sy­mons Sr., one of The Breaker Boys, ed­u­cates vis­i­tors at Pioneer Tun­nel Coal Mine and Steam Train dur­ing the 2017 Pioneer Day cel­e­bra­tion at the Ash­land tourist at­trac­tion. Sy­mons will en­ter­tain again Satur­day dur­ing the tun­nel’s 26th an­nual event.

DAVID MCKE­OWN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Vis­i­tors will find a host of craft ven­dors, lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and food avail­able in nearby Higher-Ups Park at the 26th an­nual Pioneer Day cel­e­bra­tion at the Pioneer Tun­nel Coal Mine & Steam Train, Ash­land.

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