Anthracite Heritage Festival 2009: Part I

What an incredible day.

Certainly, this was the most fruitful, exciting, informative and simply amazing of the three annual Heritage Festivals I’ve so far attended. Starting with the 10:00 cemetery tour, moving on to a trolley tour of Edgewood at 12, interviews with the cemetery tour reenactors at 1:30, and finally a visit to the Anthracite Heritage Museum and adjoining military museum at the American Legion Building around 3, I made it a point to do and see as much as possible, and I have to say I definitely accomplished a lot!

Vendors on Market Street

Vendors on Market Street

This is where I initially arrived to pick up tickets from the corner booth. I then proceeded to the Shamokin Cemetery, where I came early to meet and talk to a few people. The tour was fascinating, and I kept my ears peeled for interesting quotes which I quickly scribbled in a notebook. Along the approximately one-and-a-half-hour tour, several stops were made, with commentary by event coordinator and guide Frederick Reed on numerous individuals of the distant and recent past interred in the cemetery, while reenactors also portrayed four prominent figures. Later on I’ll post a more detailed article about the tour, along with photos and a few comments from the participants.

Although I only traveled on the trolley this year, it was pleasant to watch the buggy and wagon traversing downtown Shamokin every now and then–what was once, in the good old days, just a common sight.

Horse and buggy, as seen from the trolley

Horse and buggy, as seen from the trolley

I also stopped by the American Legion Building before calling it a day. There, I visited the Heritage Museum (see my post from March for more information on the museum), and also happened to find my way into the military museum in the next room. Elegant old furniture and paintings (one is visible in the photo below) adorned the spacious room, which held mostly photographs of local area servicemen from the Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII–and thankfully, nearly every one included an identification!–but also old books, scrapbooks and clippings. Unfortunately, one of my cameras was just about at its capacity, and the other one was home in rehab (recharging) from overuse, so I was only able to take one photo. However, the Heritage Museum, and, I’m presuming, the adjoining military museum as well, will be open tomorrow, so if possible I will visit there again for additional photos.

Military museum, American Legion Building - WWII photos

Military museum, American Legion Building - WWII photos

Next, I will be posting photos and information from the trolley tour, which went through Edgewood. Indeed, this was a great day, and I’m certainly glad I attended!

Heritage Festival begins this afternoon

Well, the time certainly has passed quickly! The 2009 Anthracite Heritage Festival of the Arts officially begins late this afternoon and evening (fireworks, parade, luminaries, etc.). I, however, probably won’t attend until tomorrow–that’s when most of the action gets underway, primarily in the Market Street area. The median will be occupied by a good number of vendors, one street corner will feature the familiar booming bandstand, and around town there will be tours via carriage and motorized trolley of historic districts. Most interestingly, there will also be cemetery tours this year as well, featuring reenactors portraying prominent Shamokinites of days past.

I hope to visit and take photos of as many places as possible, and upon my return, if I have enough photos, I’ll use separate blog posts for each locale. I’ll also be presenting a detailed article about the cemetery tour reenactments, including an in-depth look at how that event is organized, with remarks from the participants themselves.

For a detailed list of the attractions at the 2009 Heritage Festival, check out this News-Item article. The News-Item also delivers a great pitch for the attractions of the festival weekend in “Heritage Festival kicks off today.” A search on the News-Item website will yield additional info.

Finally, I’d like to wish the best of luck to everyone who has made this event possible, and I’m certain the 2009 festival will be a great success!

Festival season!

Well, it’s that time again–the Anthracite Heritage Festival, May 22-23. Lately I’ve been absent from this blog again, but (hopefully!) you’ll be seeing a lot more of me this month. I won’t forget my camera this time ( 😉 ) so you can expect numerous photos of the festival action, even though they may be a little blurry from my cameraphone’s sheer ineptitude. That’s another thing I should take care of this year!

This blog certainly needs a makeover, too. If you see anything out of whack for a while, that’s why. Mostly I’m changing the introduction page and adding a Profiles section with short biographies, document transcriptions and assorted information on significant individuals I’m researching. There may also be a Photos page with images of local landmarks and some old photos connected with my research.

It’s certainly going to be a busy month, but I’ve been attending the Heritage Festival for almost three years in a row now, and I’m eager to share the excitement, history and local color of this wonderful summer event here in coal region Shamokin. Yes, a busy but memorable month ahead!