The Tamaqua Historical Society will present its 29th Annual Tamaqua Heritage Festival on Sunday, October 13 in downtown Tamaqua from 10 till 5 p.m., rain or shine.
The annual event celebrates the fall foliage season in the community that historically has served as a 'Gateway to the Anthracite Region.'
The festival encompasses about seven blocks of downtown Tamaqua, all within the Tamaqua National Historic District. Thousands flock to the popular event each year to celebrate local history and culture.
For many who attend the festivals in Tamaqua, it is a time of homecoming to get together with family and friends who they have not seen since the last festival. Many stay for the weekend with family or friends and visit the festivals together.
Railroads are a big part of Tamaqua's heritage. Railroad attractions featured during the Festival include an open house at the restored 1874 Tamaqua Railroad Station will be held to give visitors and opportunity to see the beautifully local landmark.
The restored station re-opened to the public in 2004 following its extensive restoration by Tamaqua SOS Save Our Station organization. In addition to the businesses inside the station, Tamaqua SOS will display rare original newspapers from the Molly Maguire era.
A unique 'steam whistle blow' will take place near the Five Points intersection with Brian Ference, who will will display and operate his large collection of original antique steam railroad whistles including some new acquisitions this year.
The Tamaqua Anthracite Model Railroad Club will hold an open house at their headquarters at the corner of West Broad and Nescopeck Streets. Their display includes a huge operating HO model train layout which will delight young and old alike. Unfortunately, there will be no fall foliage train rides at the Festival this year.
Approximately one hundred crafters and vendors are expected to line the festival route offering everything from beautiful handcrafts, to jewelry, woodcrafts, holiday decorations, artwork, needle crafts, clothing items, and much more.
The Tamaqua Community Art Center located on Pine Street will be open during the festival hosting a variety of things from 10-5. Activities and exhibits include an art display in the Gallery, hourly art demonstrations of pottery wheel, spinning wheel and quilting, hand stitching, wood working and more. A Fall wreath making class will take place from 12-1 p.m. for adults. Poetry reading by Marcus Colasurdo from 1-2 p.m., and a theatre performances of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. There will also be kids crafts & food.
Harmony Lodge No. 86 and Lady Harmony Rebekah Lodge No. 86 will present an old fashioned Pie and Pumpkin walk at Depot Square Park. Along Hegarty Avenue, festival goers will find special heritage exhibits including coal mining artifacts, railroad items, and other heritage type displays.
Blacksmith Don Campbell will be working at the forge and demonstrating his blacksmithing skills in the 1848 Hegarty Blacksmith Shop throughout the day. The Hegarty Blacksmith Shop is located along Hegarty Avenue, and was owned and operated by 3 generations of the Hegarty family from 1848 until 1973. It was the oldest operating business in Schuylkill County when it closed. Admission is free.
Dr. Kelly's Old Tyme Traveling Medicine Show will be offering programs throughout the day along the sidewalk near the train station. Autumn decorating supplies, fresh apple cider, and homegrown produce will be available at two Autumn Harvest Markets the day of the festival. Horse drawn Trolley Car rides pulled by Leiby's famous Belgian Draft Horses will be offered around the festival area. This popular ride originated at the Tamaqua Heritage Festival many years ago and has become a staple at many festivals throughout the region.
Always a popular addition to the festival is the Tamaqua Street Machine Association antique and classic car show on South Railroad St. The car show draws many beautiful and historic automobiles from all over the region. Registrations are accepted the day of the event beginning at 10 a.m. Awards will be presented at 3:00 p.m. and a disc jockey will provide music during the day.
The Military Timeline re-enactors will represent the War of 1812, The Civil War, World War I and World War II with displays and demonstrations on West Broad Street near the American Legion Home.
A wonderful variety of entertainment will be offered at various locations downtown during the day. Many local organizations will also participate in the Heritage Festival with fundraising stands selling food, baked goods, calendars, and much more. Come out and support your local organizations. Many food vendors will offering tons of favorite homemade foods and festival goodies throughout the festival route.
For further information about the festival, call the Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce office at (570) 668-1880.