Monday, October 7, 2019

Tamaqua to Celebrate 35th Annual Heritage Festival

The Tamaqua Historical Society is busy preparing for its 35th Annual Tamaqua Heritage Festival on Sunday October 13 from 10 to 5 PM in downtown Tamaqua.

The Tamaqua Heritage Festival is a celebration of our local and regional history and culture held at the peak of Fall foliage and harvest time! The Heritage Festival is a time when the community, friends, relatives and neighbors come together for a homecoming to celebrate our rich history and enjoy all that the Tamaqua area has 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 and leave a message. Email is preferred” he said.

The Tamaqua Heritage Festival is Tamaqua’s largest annual event and includes nearly a hundred vendors and crafters selling 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 participate with food stands or items for sale. Leiby’s Autumn harvest farm market will feature a vast array of seasonal homegrown fruits, vegetables and decorations including 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 the area.

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, chili dogs, deep fried veggies, funnel cake, fried Oreos, lemonade, Chinese cuisine, barbecue, baked goods, pizza, fresh cut fries, steak and sausage sandwiches, burgers, snow cones, cotton candy, pasta, chicken sandwiches, shish kabobs, gyros, stuffed grape leaves, fresh squeezed apple cider, homemade baked goods, birch beer on tap, ice cream and more! If visitors are more in the mood for a sit-down dinner with family, stop in one of our fine downtown restaurants or sandwich shops. It’s all good! DiMaggios La Dolce Casa Italian Restaurant will be joining us for the first time out on the sidewalk with their great Italian food. Tamaqua’s two very popular micro-breweries will be open offering specials for the Heritage Festival. Stoker’s Brewing Company located nearby on Mauch Chunk Street, will be offering 14 handcrafted beers brewed on site including their seasonal best seller, Stoker’s Pumpkin Ale! Guests can bring food in from the festival or order from local restaurants at Stoker’s.. They are open from 1 to 7 PM and will feature live music beginning at 5 PM with folk musician Dave Matsinko. Visitors can enjoy outdoor seating in the backyard biergarten with corn hole and various other games. Revere Brewing Company located at the far eastern end of town on East Broad Street will be open from 2 to 7 PM featuring two dollars off all growlers. They will be offering 11 handcrafted beers on tap including their popular Pumpkin Ale and their Bourbon cask aged porter in oak barrels! Food can also be brought in from the festival or ordered next door at Sisters Mexican Cantina.

Along the railroad station sidewalk will be more vendors and a special display and costumed re-enactor honoring the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One this year. The Tamaqua Heritage Players will be strolling throughout the festival area dressed in period clothing and performing a coal region skit in front of the train station at 2 PM. The theme will be the first impression of a 19th century visitor to Tamaqua who just arrived on a train according to the groups coordinator, Bob VyBrenner. The historic 1874 Tamaqua Railroad Station will be open for business including the Tamaqua Station Restaurant and the Station Creamery. Free, half- hour guided historic walking tours will start in front of the Tamaqua Railroad Station entrance at 11 and again at 1 pm for guided tours of the station, the Five Points area, nearby Railroad St. and ending with a tour of the inside of the more than a century old, Padora’s coal-fired brick oven Italian Bakery located just up the street. The tour is free, but donations are 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. There is not much walking required on this tour so all ages should be able to handle it.

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 is closed presently for major renovations. Admission to the Museum is free!

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 171 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 until the home in front of it is demolished.

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”.

The Jukebox Cruisers Car Club will present the car show on South Railroad Street from 10 to 3 for all types of antique, classic and street rod cars and trucks. There are no entrance fees and everyone is welcome to bring their vehicles out and show them off. Vehicles owners will register when they arrive. Festival goers are encouraged to cast their ballot for your favorite vehicle during the Peoples Choice. First, second and third place Peoples Choice trophies will be presented at 3 PM. The first fifty vehicles to arrive will receive Tamaqua Heritage Festival dash plaques. The Tamaqua Historical Society is pleased to have All American Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram on Route 309 North in Tamaqua, be our official sponsor of the car show. All American will also display one of their sharp looking new vehicles in front of the Tamaqua Library. Be sure to check it out and thank them for their sponsorship!

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 3 and folk musician Dave Matsinko will stroll and play various historic instruments from 11 to 3 throughout the festival area. If you are into oldies music, a disc jockey will be playing your favorite oldies from 10 to 3 at the car show area.

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 in a three story brick warehouse on South Railroad Street between 9 and 5 to check out their latest acquisitions, including vintage jewelry. Lizard Creek Valley Antiques on Lafeyette Street in the historic Bischoff factory building will also be open from 10 to 4 featuring a closeout of everything including primitives, architectural doors, windows, shutters, antique hardware, chairs, farm items, and salvage.

For the younger folks, there will be amusements and games to keep them occupied. The kiddie bounce house, train ride and games will be on South Railroad Street. There will also be a small petting zoo nearby where children can see the animals. Face painting will be on West Broad Street near Mila Chinese Buffet. Kids and adults alike will love the open house at the Tamaqua Anthracite Model Railroad Club on the second floor of the historic Masonic Building at the corner of West Broad Street at Nescopeck from 9 to 5. See their large operating layout as they continue to model the railroads from the greater Tamaqua area and beyond. New this year, the Carbon County Model Railroad Society will have its traveling caboose with a model train layout inside displayed in front of RF Haircare on West Broad St.

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

(Submitted Photo)

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