The largest summer festival in eastern Schuylkill County will kick off Sunday at 10 a.m. in downtown Tamaqua and is expected to draw thousands.

The Tamaqua Historical Society will present the 22nd Annual Tamaqua Summerfest, featuring free admission and events offered with family fun in mind.

"Summerfest is a great way to kick off the summer season and celebrate Fathers Day with Dad and the entire family," said Dale Freudenberger, society president.

The Tamaqua Summerfest is held mostly outdoors and spreads over several blocks of West Broad Street and all of South Railroad Street. The festival areas also include Berwick and Nescopec streets and Hegarty Avenue. A variety of music genres will be featured this year by talented artists located at a number of locations along the festival route.

The Brandywine Miniature Railroad will offer free rides throughout the day along Hegarty Avenue. Although the train is a scale miniature, it accommodates adults as well as children.

Tamaqua Anthracite Model Railroad Club will unveil a newly re-designed model train display at their open house. The display includes a panoramic look at the colorful spectrum of railroad history, located at the corner of Nescopec and West Broad streets. A large craft and street fair will be part of the scene along West Broad and Nescopec streets. Vendors from all over the region will display handicrafts, food and unique items throughout the downtown.

The Tamaqua Gallery located inside the Chamber of Commerce office on West Broad Street will be open with a new photography exhibit titled 'My Mondays' by local visual artist Tracy Perry. The exhibit is free.

The historic 1848 Hegarty Blacksmith Shop will be open for tours featuring resident blacksmith Don Campbell. The Tamaqua Street Machine Association will showcase antique and classic cars from 10 to 3 along South Railroad Street.

People's Choice trophies will be presented to the top three vote-getters, plus a coveted Mayor's Choice trophy will be awarded as well. Prizes will be announced at 3 p.m. Registration is free and all car enthusiasts are welcome to show up on Sunday to display their special set of wheels. A DJ will be on hand, spinning favorite oldies.

Smokey Bear will make a special visit to stroll around the festival area. Several local fire companies will also be displaying emergency response equipment. The 1801 Moser Log Home, first house in Tamaqua, will be open for free tours from 11 to 3. The house is located at 307 East Broad St. near Tamaqua Borough Hall.

DJ Brandon Fritz will serenade with summertime music favorites. The 1874 Tamaqua train station will host a free open house during the day. In addition, horse-drawn trolley rides featuring Belgian draft horses will be offered at Berwick Street. The Victorian Highwheelers of Tamaqua will ride their vintage, human-powered machines along the festival route and will be available to discuss the evolution of personal transportation since the days of horses. The educational group already has appeared in Wilkes-Barre and Shamokin this year, and was awarded a top honor in the Scranton St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The Tamaqua LEO Club will sponsor a dunk tank in front of Wachovia Bank all day long and the Tamaqua Gallery will showcase a display of original artwork.

Always-popular, Tamaqua native Polka Joe Manjack of WLSH, will play hits and chat with festival goers on West Broad Street. A large variety of ethnic and favorite festival foods and beverages will be available along the festival route.

The grand opening of the new Tamaqua Community Arts Center will be a special feature of this year's Summerfest. The Center is located inside the former Salem Church at 125 Pine Street, Route 309 north, across from the Family Dollar shopping center. The Center will feature an art exhibit from 9 to 5 p.m. featuring 30 artists. Live entertainment will also be presented during the exhibit between 12 and 4 p.m. A special evening concert featuring the music of Faith Roberts, Malibu, and Category 5 with Kathy Rimm will wrap up the Summerfest activities from 5 to 9 p.m.

Summerfest is one of the largest annual celebrations in downtown Tamaqua and provides an opportunity for the family to spend the day together outdoors and to celebrate Father's Day. More information is available at the Tamaqa Area Chamber of Commerce, (570) 668-1880.