The Bluegrass & Anthracite Heritage Festival returns to Mauch Chunk Lake Park on Saturday. The first show starts at 11 a.m. and the nearly nonstop show goes on until 10 p.m., for 11hours of even more heritage, history, crafts, exhibits, bluegrass, and specialty foods than ever before.
Now, in its fourth year, the festival is, to coin a term, bigger and better. The Mauch Chunk Park team has set everything up for the event, so your festival favorites will be waiting: pulled pork barbecue, corn on the cob, hot dogs, kielbasa, haluski, halupki, chicken wings, pizza, tacos, hamburgers, French fries, pierogies, fruit smoothies, fried Oreos, and funnel cakes.
Park Director Dave Horvath has his staff readying for the event.
"We look forward to it every year," he said. "It's an opportunity for the local historical organizations to promote our history, promote tourism, promote the park, and showcase our facilities."
"The event pays tribute to our local heritage and, in particular, the anthracite coal mining of Northeastern Pennsylvania," said Horvath. "We have a number of exhibits to highlight the history of the Carbon County area and the coal mining that went on in this area."
The rain or shine event is family oriented with 25 crafters displaying their works and a variety of crafts for kids sponsored by the 4-H Club. The Eastern PA Coalition of Abandoned Mines will demonstrate a truly unique way of tie-dying shirts with the use of iron oxide obtained from acid mine abatement. The Carbon County Environmental Education Center will offer two Birds of Prey programs.
Throughout the daytime, there are free hayrides along the Switchback Trail, and demonstrations of model aircraft flying over Mauch Chunk Lake by the Tuscarora RC Club. On Friday evening at 7 p.m., there is an open mike jam at the main stage hosted by Pat McGeehan.
To many, the centerpiece of the festival is the virtually nonstop, first rate bluegrass music. Perched upon a hay wagon, top performers from northeastern Pennsylvania sing foot stomping and hand clapping melodies. The performance schedule, coordinated by McGeehan of the Coal County Express, is as follows:
Jupiters Arrow 11:00 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
Texas Rose 12:30 p.m. – 1:40 p.m.
Mason Porter 1:50 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Blue Roots 3:40 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Coal County Express 6:00 p.m. – 7:10 p.m.
Three of Us 7:20 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Jay Smar 8:40 p.m. – 9:50 p.m.
At dusk, a social bonfire lights up the evening's musical performances. Bring a chair and marshmallows. For information, call 570-325-3669 or see: wwwmclpark.com.