Fun day in Haven
Borough Day celebrates 30 years of fun, cheers in Haven
More than 200 vendors, a slew of entertainment including magicians, dancers, musicians, jugglers, even a pot-bellied pig meet-and-greet and more than 10,000 anxious attendees will descend this weekend on a southern Schuylkill County community that’s earned the title “The Little Town That Could.”
Celebrating “Thirty Years of
Fun and Cheers,” Schuylkill Haven Borough Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The event is free, open to the public and will be held rain or shine, according to Celeste Geschwindt, Borough Day Committee member. There will be free parking at Evans Delivery lot off Columbia Street; Schuylkill Haven Area High School and elementary center; and Island Park. Free shuttles will ferry folks around, Geschwindt said, adding that there’s a detour in place from about 6:30 a.m. until vendors are packed up and on their way out. She urges motorists to be patient when driving in the borough.
Borough Day “has been described as ‘the most positive happening in Schuylkill County,’ ” Geschwindt said. “It’s a FUN day … everyone participating has been asked to please incorporate something fun at their stand. We strive to bring a day that’s fun and affordable for the whole family. There are activities for everyone of all ages. Schuylkill Haven Borough, merchants and residents all pitch in to make the day a success. Everyone seems to be involved in one way or another.”
Just before the festivities kick off, there will be a breakfast at St. Ambrose Parish Center at 8 a.m. The event will then be thrust into full tilt, with musicians playing throughout downtown, vendors and crafters manning their stands, and of course, the trains will begin chugging.
Excursions on Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern’s steam engine 425 will be held at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m., said Bob Kempes, Borough Day Committee member in charge of organizing the rides. The hourlong round trip adventure will cost $14 for adults; $9 for children 2-12 and free for children under 2,
he said, adding that all passengers need a ticket. Tickets will be sold at the station, but get them quick.
“They often sell out. We have people coming from all over ... Some from New York, Virginia, Carolina,” Kempes said.
The train will make the approximate 18-mile trip down past Port Clinton to the Kernsville Dam, Kempes said, adding that the scenery is sight unseen to regular motorists.
“I love the views. Some of the leaves are just beginning to turn. Not many, but some of them are. But you’re going to see a lot of wooded area on the way down to Port Clinton,” Kempes said. “We follow along the river down there, and that’s really pretty. It’s just lush green at this point and beautiful.”
The century-old restored eight passenger cars are generally packed, usually at near-capacity of about 490 people, he said. Some Schuylkill Haven Area Honor Society students will dress up as some of A.A. Milne’s characters for the rides, namely Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger, Kempes said, praising the students for their volunteerism.
If train excursions weren’t enough, the station will also be hosting a neighboring engine.
“We’re also having the steam engine from Minersville come for display,” Kempes said about Railway Restoration Project 113. “They’re going to come down for the day, and they’ll be parked probably in front of the station. The thing will be under steam and they’ll be blowing the whistle occasionally,” he said.
“We will have plenty of steam engines and noise … We’re looking forward to it.”
If the sight of the trains in person isn’t quite enough, there will be prints of the original commissioned work of Starlight Express by Angela Trotta Thomas for sale, Geschwindt said.
“She is the only artist ever to be licensed by famed toy train manufacturer Lionel Trains Inc. We commissioned her to depict Schuylkill Haven’s train station in an original piece of artwork. We have signed and numbered prints of that artwork for sale,” she said. The 15-by-21-inch print depicts “a lovely winter scene with rosy-cheeked children and arriving steam train.”
From illustrations to acoustics, musicians will be playing at the Schuylkill Haven Train Station lot, on St. John Street, at the Schuylkill Haven Public Library, St. John’s United Church of Christ lawn and the Beer Haven on West Main Street. The music, ranging from folk to rock to big band, will feature Jay Smar, Jesse Wade, the Mummers All-Star String Band, Hannah Violet Trio and Galena Brass Band, just to name a few.
In addition, there will be plenty for kids to do, including attractions on Parkway Playground made possible by various groups and churches, Rock n’ Roll Racing (remote-controlled cars), mini train rides and more.
Despite all the goings-on, Geschwindt asks that everyone remain respectful of one another and the town. She asks attendees to find the green bins around downtown for recycling, and be on the look out for Borough Day VIPs, volunteers there to direct and advise anyone with questions. In addition to the VIPs, the Borough Day Committee sends thanks to all the volunteers, vendors, officials and those behind the scenes that make the event possible, and hopes to see everyone next year on the last Saturday in September.
“We do it for the good of the community. We throw a party and watch how much fun people have when they show up!”
For more information about Schuylkill Haven Borough Day, visit www.shboroughday.com.
Robert Sloan, Mahanoy City, sports an engineer cap for his train excursion with the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad during last year’s Borough Day in Schuylkill Haven. This year’s festivities will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Playing with the wooden train display set up by Mark Petrich, Schuylkill Haven, at last year’s Borough Day are, from left, Aiden Wessner and Jude Salata, both of Cressona, and Oliver Seltzer, Schuylkill Haven.