Posts Tagged With: Penn State

Area Fireworks Displays Start Tonight

Fireworks over Raystown Lake by Kevin Mills

Fireworks on the Lake at Lake Raystown Resort Lodge and Conference Center, Entriken, PA. Photo by Kevin Mills, picturesbykevin.com.

With Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, the Raystown Lake Region will be celebrating all week with fireworks displays, beginning tonight, Sunday, July 1st, at the Lake Raystown Resort Lodge and Conference Center after dusk (9:00 PM-ish).  If you don’t want to find a place to park to watch them (it’s illegal to stop on Route 994 in the area of Entriken Bridge), and you aren’t confident enough to boat at night, Seven Points Marina still has tickets to view them from the deck of The Princess Lake Cruiser.  The cruise on The Princess departs from the marina at 7:00 PM.  A limited number of tickets are still available.  We recommend calling 814-658-3074. ASAP to reserve.

Fireworks at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, State College, PA by Matt Price

Fireworks following a State College Spikes Minor League Baseball Game at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, State College, PA on the Penn State University campus. Photo by Matt Price

Also tonight, tomorrow night, and Tuesday night, the State College Spikes Minor League Baseball team will be having fireworks displays following each game in their series versus the Batavia Muckdogs.  Game times are 6:00 PM tonight, and 7:00 PM on Monday and Tuesday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park, on the Penn State University campus, State College, PA.

Tuesday night, July 3rd, also brings a community fireworks display to Huntingdon.  The fireworks are launched from atop Flagpole Hill, and visible from nearly everywhere in Huntingdon Borough and Smithfield Township.  For those of you not familiar with Huntingdon, Flagpole Hill is located at the top of 5th Street (look for the giant American Flag).

Of course the actual Independence Day holiday falls on July 4th, and that’s when the big mortars come out.  Working from South to North along Interstate 99, look for the Independence Day Firestorm fireworks display at Altoona’s Lakemont Park, and another display following the Altoona Curve Minor League Baseball game against the Reading Phillies at PNG Field, Altoona.  One of the largest, most renowned, professional fireworks displays in Pennsylvania happens at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park with its annual Summer Thunder 4th of July Fireworks.  Farther north on Interstate 99, State College’s Central PA 4th Fest will be happening in the area of Medlar Field at Lubrano Park and Beaver Stadium.  This display is the largest all-volunteer fireworks display in the  world.

The fireworks don’t end with Independence Day, though.  The Altoona Curve will have fireworks following each game against the Reading Phillies, July 4th, 5th, and 6th, and Saturday and Sunday night games against the Binghamton Mets.  Game times on Wednesday-Saturday are 7:00 PM and Sunday at 6:00 PM.

If you were counting, that’s 13 fireworks displays in 8 days, including at least one every night!  Be safe, have fun, and don’t drink and drive or drink and boat!

God Bless America!


 

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And So It Begins…

Today is the official opening of the Seven Points Campground at Raystown Lake, which surrounds our office at the Raystown Lake Region Visitors Center!  The campground is being managed this year for the first time by the Friends of Raystown Lake, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help promote and protect the environmental and recreational missions of the Army Corps of Engineers Raystown Lake Project by engaging in partnerships to further those missions.  As the recreation mission of the Corps continues to deal with decreases in the federal budget, organizations like the Friends of Raystown Lake are finding creative ways to keep a good thing going at Army Corps projects around the country.  We applaud them for that!

Although we have a good number of campgrounds, vacation homes, B&B’s, and hotels that are open year-round in the Raystown Lake Region, there is a general consensus that April is the “soft opening” of our tourism season.  By the end of April almost all of our places to stay and attractions are open for business (there are a handful that won’t  open until Memorial Day Weekend).  Here are a few reasons why April is a great time to visit the RLR.

  • The Fish! Trout season begins in Huntingdon County on April 14th.  Even if you don’t like to fish, it is always an amazing drive along route 26 between McAlevy’s Fort and  Huntingdon to see the linear tent city that develops beginning Friday, April 13th.  For the local trout stocking schedule, click here.  We have world-class trout streams in the Little Juniata River, Spruce Creek, Standing Stone Creek, Shavers Creek, Great Trough Creek, and Blacklog Creek.  We also have great fishing for species other than trout in Raystown Lake, and on the Juniata River.  Check out our partner site at The Alleghenies for great fishing options in the region.
  • The Blossoms! From yellow forsythia, white apple, soft pink pear, hot pink redbud, lilac, rhododendron, and white mountain laurel, the blossoms on our native trees and shrubs is gorgeous during April (some started blooming with an early warm spell in March).  Spring in our niche of The Alleghenies is equally as beautiful as our autumn leaves.
  • The Birds! Whether you are a novice who marvels at the sight of a bald eagle, or a seasoned ornithologist with a life list of songbirds, we’ve got the place for you!  For a guaranteed look  at raptors, check out Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, where their raptor center features a variety of live birds of prey that due to injury, would not likely survive in the wild.  For a great place to view and hear songbirds, check out the Hillside Nature Trail at Seven Points Recreation Area at Raystown Lake.
  • The Shows! April in Huntingdon County, brings with it a lot of great shows.  The Playhouse at McConnellstown opens its season with Belles in April as Juniata College closes its season with fantastic student performances in theater and music.  April also kicks off a great season of outdoor concerts with the live music at Mayfest of Huntingdon!  Shows also include minor league and NCAA baseball, as well as Penn State Football‘s annual Blue-White Game.

So whatever your passion is this spring, bring it to the Raystown Lake Region, and stop in and see us at the Visitors Center while you’re here!

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Triple Sorrow

It has been said that death comes in threes.  That has certainly been the case in the past week in the tourism community of the Raystown Lake Region.  In the seven days from January 20, 2012 to January 26, 2012, we said goodbye to three remarkable men, who each made our tourism product offerings better even if that wasn’t their primary goal, or even within their thoughts.

Larry Way at Miller's Diner, photo by Abram Eric Landes

Larry Way at Miller's Diner, photo by Abram Eric Landes - aelandesphotography.com

On Friday, January 20th, Larry Way, owner of Miller’s Diner 3 miles east of Huntingdon, succumbed to a heart attack.  Larry was an ardent supporter and promoter of Raystown Lake.  He would engage anyone who would listen in conversation about the lake, its tremendous impact on the local economy, and its potential to increase that impact.  Larry had an infectious smile, and was not shy about speaking his mind on any topic.  His restaurant has a hometown air about it, and it is very common, and oddly welcoming for conversations to be taking place between booths, tables, and even the counter seating, engaging every patron there at the time.

On my first day as Executive Director of the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau, my staff arranged to have lunch delivered by Miller’s Diner to the Visitors Center.  This isn’t a normal service that the Diner provides, but Larry was eager to meet me and help to shape my vision of the area and its tourism industry, so he brought the meal out himself.  We wound up sitting at our conference table engaged in conversation for more than two hours.  I was already enthusiastic about my new job, but Larry’s viewpoint helped me to put into perspective the tremendous opportunities that exist here for residents and visitors alike.

Much local and national publicity has surrounded the second death that affects Huntingdon County’s tourism industry, that of Joe Paterno on Sunday, January 22nd.  While not directly involved in HCVB, there is no denying the overwhelmingly positive impact he has had on our tourism industry.  Six weekends per year, more than 100,000 people flock to Beaver Stadium in State College to experience a game day at the best show in college athletics.  Joe Paterno is singly responsible for that volume of visitors to Central Pennsylvania.  The lodging establishments of Huntingdon County have no trouble selling their rooms on those weekends.  It is entirely likely that  JoePa never considered his impact on the rural county to his south, but it certainly exists.

I am not an alumnus of Penn State, nor have I ever shaken hands with the man, although I have been in the audience while he addressed an assembly of high school student government participants more than two decades ago.  However, I am and always have been a Penn State Nittany Lion fan.  And I for one, will always remember the beloved coach, philanthropist, educator and family man fondly.

On Thursday, January 26th we lost a man whose dedication to his job rivaled that of coach Paterno in its loyalty and longevity.  Stanley Hall started with the East Broad Top Railroad in 1959 as a painter, fresh out of high school.  He was charged with preparing the narrow-gauge railway’s cars and engines that had been dormant since it ceased operations in 1956, for an excursion to celebrate the Orbisonia/Rockhill bicentennial.  From that moment he dedicated his life to the EBT, doing every job involved in running a steam railroad, including serving more than two decades as its general manager.  The monumental task of maintaining 32 miles of railroad right-of-way, century-old machinery, acres of wooden and steel structures, and running weekend excursions with all of it for 50 years, boggles the mind, yet that’s what Stanley did.

Stanley Hall being inducted into the Keystone Society for Tourism.  Photo by Ed Stoddard

Stanley Hall (center) receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Keystone Society for Tourism in 2010, presented by Deputy Secretary J. Mickey Rowley (left) and Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland (right). Photo by Ed Stoddard

I had the great fortune to nominate and witness Stanley Hall’s induction into the Keystone Society for Tourism, Pennsylvania’s tourism honor society.  He had amazing stories to tell about the railroad over the years, and quite literally dedicated blood, sweat, and tears to its operation.  As I sat in the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg with the Hall family, and listened to all of Stanley’s accomplishments read as the award was presented, and saw the pride in their eyes, and the sense of satisfaction in his for recognition of a life of dedicated service, I was nearly brought to tears.

I consider it a true blessing to be promoting an area that has been so greatly influenced by these three great men.  My heart, and those of the entire tourism industry in Huntingdon County is saddened by their passing.  To their families, please know that their impact on the area they loved so much, is sure to be felt for generations to come, and will not be forgotten.

Sincerely,
Matt Price
Executive Director
Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau

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