Fun day in Haven

Bor­ough Day cel­e­brates 30 years of fun, cheers in Haven

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COPY ED­I­TOR

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.shbor­ough­


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.

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