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Monday, October 3, 2016

Sinnemahoning State Park Announces Schedule for First Fork Festival

Sinnemahoning - Celebrate the history and culture of the First Fork Sinnemahoning Valley at the fourth annual First Fork Festival at Sinnemahoning State Park, Saturday, October 8, from 12:00 to 5:00 PM

The First Fork Festival features local authors, artists and artisans showcasing their talents amidst a backdrop of full autumn color in the Pennsylvania Wilds.

Local Music and Entertainment

Ron Tusing & Father Paul Band
Main Stage, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Kicking off the festival this year is the popular local band, made up of Ron Tusing, Father Paul, Ed Badeau and friends, playing jazz style tunes with a flair that will take the audience back to “the good old days”. Live on the main stage in front of the Wildlife Center.

Firequacker Duck Derby
40 Maples Day Use Area, 1:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Cameron County’s fifth annual Firequacker Duck Derby will take place during the First Fork Festival at Sinnemahoning State Park. Plastic ducks are available for purchase at the Cameron County Fireworks Committee food stand until the start of the race. Race will begin at 1:30 in the 40 Maples Day Use Area.

Special Guest, Van Wagner presents “Tall Timber”
Main Stage, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Van Wagner, songwriter, historian and Pennsylvania logger presents “Tall Timber”, a program celebrating the past and present of the Pennsylvania timber industry. A little bit of music, a little bit of laughter, and lot of culture make this unique educational program a reminder of why we should be proud to be from the Timber Country of Pennsylvania.

Mountain Melodies
Main Stage, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Local musical talent from Cameron County will entertain festival goers with folk tunes and classics with an enthusiasm and a love of music that can’t be matched. Live on the main stage in front of the Wildlife Center.

Interactive and Local History

“Wood On Glass Exhibit” featuring William T. Clarke’s historic lumbering Photographs
Seven photographs of the “Wood On Glass” exhibit will be on display in the classroom of the Wildlife Center during the First Fork Festival, on loan from the PA Lumber Heritage Region. These historic and evocative photographs by little known and long forgotten itinerant photographer William T. Clarke (1859-1930), chronicled the lumber industry and its dramatic impact on north central Pennsylvania during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

History of Cameron County and the Lushbaugh CCC camp
The Cameron County Historical Society will bring our local history alive with stories of the early residents and businesses of the area and a chance to purchase historical books of the area. View artifacts and pictures of the local CCC camp while learning about the daily lives of the young men who took part in that historic conservation initiative.

The 1911 Austin Dam Disaster
Watch the Austin Disaster video to learn the tale of the early days of the town of Austin and the people and the industry that made this town unique. Austin Dam Association volunteers will be on-hand to answer questions and discuss local history.

Horseshoes and Bocce Ball in the First Fork Valley
Backyard games were a part of our local history. Famous local game protector, Chauncey Logue, was a champion horseshoe pitcher in this valley over 100 years ago. Bocce ball has been played in Potter County since the Italian timber workers first arrived in the 1800s. Learn the history of these fun backyard sports while giving them a try with friends.

Hands-on Activities for the Young and Young-at-Heart
Immerse yourself into the story of the First Fork Valley’s past while having fun with unique activities. Dig into our park’s past with an interactive archaeology exhibit; learn to use hand tools to build a home for bluebirds; cook bannock bread over an open fire; and crack open Pennsylvania rocks to discover hidden gems.

Book Signings by Local Authors

Local authors, Bill Robertson and Nancy Summerson, will have signed copies of books for sale inside the Wildlife Center during the festival. The creative mind behind the Bucktail Brothers Civil War novels, French and Indian War novels, and local ghost story books, Bill Robertson will discuss how local history has influenced and inspired his writings. Cameron County native and published author, Nancy Summerson, will discuss her writing processes and how rural life gave her the inspiration to write her book of poetry, “ The Walking Road.”

PA Wilds Artisans and Local Arts & Crafts

Over 20 local vendors will be displaying and selling quality arts and crafts, ranging from photography and wood products, to fiber art and maple syrup products. Local juried PA Wilds artisans in attendance will include Phil Burkhouse, John Johnson, Dan & Tonyia Wennin, Teresa Genaux, Palace Apiaries, Mahlon Davenport, Danette Wightman, and others. Scheduled demonstrations will feature local artisans and talented crafts-people showing off their skills and discussing their artistic processes. Discover how artisans turn wood on a mini-lathe, clean and decorate gourds, and make felted products from wool. For a complete list of vendors and demonstrations, please contact the park office.

Food and Drinks

A variety of food and drinks will be available to festival goers. Returning to the First Fork Festival again this year are Lou Karija with the local favorite God’s Country Kettle Corn, Cameron County Fireworks Committee serving beef vegetable soup, sausage sandwiches, and beef-on-weck, and the Austin School with a bake sale and funnel cakes. New to the festival this year are Phartin’ Barts BBQ, dishing out prize-winning wings and pulled pork, and Mobile Fresca, serving specialty tacos, wraps and more.

For a schedule of festival events or for more information about programs at Sinnemahoning State Park, contact the park office at 814-647-8401 or by email at An online calendar of events with information on upcoming programs can also be found at

If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit. With at least three days’ notice, interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing are available for educational programs.

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