Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tamaqua Historical Society Preparing for Heritage Festival

The Tamaqua Historical Society is busy preparing for its 34th Annual Tamaqua Heritage Festival on Sunday October 14 from 10 to 5 PM in downtown Tamaqua. 

 The Tamaqua Heritage Festival is a celebration of our local and regional history and culture as well as Fall foliage and harvest time! Our special theme this year is the 250th Anniversary of the first successful use of Anthracite Coal which set the stage to make our Anthracite region and our people who they are! The Heritage Festival is a time when the community, friends, relatives and neighbors come together for a homecoming to celebrate together in downtown Tamaqua and enjoy all that Tamaqua and the region have to offer. The event is held rain or shine. Registrations are still being accepted for craft and vendor spaces noted Dale Freudenberger, President. “Anyone still wanting a space downtown can email me at or call at 610-597-6722. Email is preferred” he said.

The Tamaqua Heritage Festival includes crafts and street vendors selling all kinds of handmade crafts, seasonal and holiday creations, works of art, street wares and so much more! Every booth has something special and unique to offer. Many local organizations, school groups, churches, scouts and fire companies always participate with information booths or selling fundraising items. Coaldale native and author, Daniel Urban, will be autographing and selling copies of his new book “Grow Up Already!” along the festival route.

Great food is always on everybody’s mind the day of the festival as they smell the tempting aromas of all kinds of homemade, ethnic and other popular festival foods scattered all along West Broad Street. Items include homemade soups, chili, bleenies, pierogies, pit beef or pork sandwiches, barbecue, baked goods, pizza, fresh cut fries, steak and sausage sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, Hawaiian Ice, cotton candy, chicken sandwiches, shish kabobs, apple cider, homemade baked goods, ice cream and more! If visitors are more in the mood for a sit-down dinner with family, stop in one of our fine down town restaurants or sandwich shops. It’s all good! Tamaqua’s new Stoker’s Micro Brewery located on Mauch Chunk Street not far from the Five Points intersection, will be brewing up a special edition brew for the Heritage Festival which they call “Patchtown Brown”, a nut brown ale honoring our blue-collar, working class people and region! Stop in and check out the special edition brew and check out Tamaqua’s first micro-brewery!

The Tamaqua Area Historical Museum at 118 West Broad Street will be open for tours and features many great displays of local wildlife, native Americans, the towns founding, discovery and mining of coal, railroads, immigration and ethnic heritage, fraternal organizations, death and burial customs, the Molly Maguires, police, farming, dairies, religion, theaters, breweries and hotels, explosives, early industry and manufacturing, textiles, military, schools, sports, scouting, Indian celebrations, banking, telephones, businesses and more! The Museum Annex and Gallery located next door at 114 West Broad Street features a special exhibit in the front room titled the ‘Art of the Anthracite’ featuring nearly forty oil paintings by Tamaqua artist Harry K. Snyder. Snyder’s art features twenty four paintings of coal breakers from Schuylkill, Carbon and Luzerne Counties, a number of paintings of Tamaqua landmarks and several other paintings that show Snyders love of many subjects around the globe. The rear Gallery features the works of noted Tamaqua artist John G. Scott. A new painting has been added to the Scott collection just this week so be sure to check it out when you visit. Admission to the Museum, Annex and Gallery is free! The Museum Gift Shop offers many local Tamaqua items for sale including a full array of commemorative items honoring the 250th Anniversary of Anthracite including an array of ethnic heritage licence plates for every different nationality in the region.

Along the sidewalk leading to the train station, will be more vendors and local organizations including a special display and costumed re-enactor honoring the 100th anniversary of World War One this year. The 1848 Hegarty Blacksmith Shop at the corner of Hegarty Avenue and Nescopeck Streets will be open with blacksmith Don Campbell demonstrating his skills at the forge and anvil in the 170 year old shop and explaining its history as the oldest continuous run business in Schuylkill County when it closed in 1974. The 1801 Moser Log Home on East Broad Street is closed presently for safety access reasons and will hopefully reopen sometime next year. The Tamaqua Heritage Players group, part of the Tamaqua Historical Society, will be strolling throughout the festival area dressed in period clothing.

Unfortunately there will be no car show this year on South Railroad Street due to the recent disbanding of the Tamaqua Street Machine Association earlier this year. Other ideas are being explored for next year to replace the loss of the car show. The Tamaqua Victorian Hi-Wheeler bicyclists will be riding their vintage hi-wheel bicycles in period costumes and showing off their skills during the day. This was once a popular pastime in Tamaqua during the 1880s when we actually had a local bicycling organization known as the ‘Tamaqua Wheelmen”. Guided tours of Padora’s one hundred plus year old Anthracite coal-fired Italian bread bakery will meet in the Tamaqua Railroad Station lobby at 11 and again at 1 pm for half hour guided walk and tour of the bakery located just up the street. The tour is free, however donations will be appreciated. Tour goers will be able to purchase a loaf of Padora’s fresh Italian Bread at the end of the tour if they so desire.

A variety of music around the festival area includes the WMGH Polka Program live broadcast with Polka Joe Manjack from 10 to 1 in front of the Museum, DJ Shawn from 1 to 5 in front of the Museum Annex. Folk musician and clogger, Jay Smar, will perform in front of the Hegarty Blacksmith Shop from 11 to 2 and folk musician Dave Matsinko will stroll and perform from 11 to 2 throughout the festival area.

Leiby’s Autumn harvest farm market will feature a vast array of seasonal homegrown fruits, vegetables and decorations like pumpkins, gourds, mums, corn stalks and bales of straw. Don’t forget to take home some of their great homemade apple cider, the best to be found in these parts! Leiby’s Carriage Service will be offering horsedrawn trolley rides around the festival featuring their beautiful Belgian draft horses starting on Berwick Street. If you are into antiques and decorating, stop by Tink’s Antiques on South Railroad Street between 9 and 5 PM to check out their latest acquisitions.
For the younger folks, there will be face painting, amusements and games to keep them occupied along the festival route. Kids and adults alike will love the open house at the Tamaqua Anthracite Model Railroad Club at the corner of West Broad Street at Nescopeck from 9 to 5. See their large operating layout on the second floor of the Masonic Building as they model the railroads from the greater Tamaqua area and beyond. Other children’s games, bounce house and amusements will be located on South Railroad Street. Just a reminder…..there are no train rides offered this year during the Heritage Festival.

For further information or to register as a vendor, contact the Tamaqua Historical Society at 610-597-6722 or by email to Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook to follow all of our events throughout the year. You can also visit us on the Web at

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