Tuesday, June 15, 2021

30th Annual Tamaqua Summerfest Set For Father’s Day Sunday

The 30th annual Tamaqua Summerfest will be held this Father’s Day Sunday June 20th from 10 to 5 in downtown Tamaqua following its cancellation last year due to the pandemic . 

The Tamaqua Summerfest will feature a large street fair, handmade crafts, street vendors, car show, tons of great food, a variety of music, children’s rides and games, historical tours, strolling performances, strolling historical reenactors, Leiby’s Carriage Service horsedrawn trolley car rides, Father’s Day specials at many downtown restaurants and local craft breweries, and many local organization booths from schools, scout groups, fire companies, animal rescue, fire police and more!

Presented annually by the Tamaqua Historical Society, the Tamaqua Summerfest is the first big celebration of the summer season in the Tamaqua area. The Tamaqua Summerfest spreads over several blocks of West Broad Street, as well as South Railroad Street, Berwick and part of Nescopeck Street and Hegarty Avenue in downtown Tamaqua. Crafters and many street vendors from all over will display their items for sale items along the busy thoroughfares.

Steam train rides return to the Summerfest this year with three excursions being offered by the Reading and Northern Railroad at 11AM, 1 PM and 3 PM departing from the historic Tamaqua Railroad Station. The first and third trips will go north to the area of the Hometown High Bridge before returning, and the second trip will head south to the area of New Ringgold before returning. Passengers will ride in restored passenger coaches pulled by the beautiful #425 steam locomotive. Tickets will be sold the day of the festival in front of the Tamaqua Station.

Advance tickets can be purchased over the phone using a credit card by calling the railroad at 610-562-2102. Tickets can be purchased in person using cash only through Friday at Tinks Antiques on S. Railroad St. in Tamaqua. All remaining tickets can be purchased the day of the festival at the station. Come out and see the beautiful new train platform built in front of the train station during the past year.

Jukebox Cruisers Car Club organizes the Summerfest Car Show begins at 10:00 AM on Sunday along lower South Railroad Street including the St. Lukes parking lot. Three ‘People’s Choice’ trophies will be presented to the top three vote getters at 3 PM. No pre-registration is necessary, and we encourage vehicle owners to bring out their antique, classic, or street rod vehieles to show them off. There is no fee and all are welcome! Music will be provided by the Juke Box Cruisers disc jockey.

One of the favorite attractions each year is the large street fair featuring a mix of crafters and vendors offering a wide variety of items such as handmade candles, crocheted and knitted items, handmade jewelry, handcrafted wood items, handmade wreaths and holiday decorations, hot sauces, local made moonshine, honey and so much more!

There will also be children’s rides, games, face painting and a bounce house. Buster the Clown will be strolling the festival route making balloon animals for the kids.

The 1848 Hegarty Blacksmith Shop, located on Hegarty Avenue will be open for free tours. Hegarty’s Shop was the oldest continually run business in Schuylkill County when it closed in 1974 after being operated by three generations of the Hegarty family since 1848. It is now owned and operated by the Tamaqua Historical Society. The Tamaqua Historical Society Museum at 118 West Broad Street inside the former 1905 First National Bank Building on West Broad Street will also be open. It is one of the region’s best and largest local history museums. Admission is free and there is much to see and learn from a visit to the museum. The Tamaqua Heritage Players will be strolling through the downtown dressed in period costumes. Check out the newly renovated Museum Annex and Gallery and see the major renovations currently underway upstairs and next door. The large pieces of construction equipment and dumpsters out front will temporarily be removed until after the Summerfest. A coal miner dressed in mine rescue equipment will explain its use out in front of the museum near a mining exhibit.

Leiby’s Carriage Service will provide horsedrawn trolley car rides pulled by their beautiful Belgian Draft Horses throughout the downtown. Visitors can board the trolley along Berwick Street near Wachovia Bank. The Victorian HiWheelers on their antique hiwheel bicycles from will make an appearance along the festival route. Be sure to wave to them!

Tons of delicious ethnic and favorite festival foods will be offered by vendors and organizations along the festival route. Everything from homemade coal region favorites such as bleenies, halushki, pierogies and potato candy, to steak sandwiches, Leiby’s ice cream, fresh cut french fries, Volcano Drinks, cotton candy, Hillbilly Hooch, fresh squeezed lemonade, Italian Ice, wood fired pizza, funnel cake, meatball subs, beef and pork pit barbecue sandwiches, Mediterranean food, hot dogs, hamburgers, home baked goods, fresh tapped birch beer, fresh made kettle korn, and more! There is something for every appetite! Many other indoor dining opportunities and special menu items will be offered at the many fine restaurants and shops in downtown Tamaqua during the Summerfest. Tamaqua’s very popular two craft breweries will be open during the Summerfest by offering specials at their respective locations. Stokers Brewery is located on Mauch Chunk Street and Revere Brewing Co. is located at the far eastern end of Broad Street next to Sisters Cantina.

A variety of music will entertain visitors including a live broadcast of the WMGH Polka Program with Polka Joe Manjack from 10 to 1 in front of the Tamaqua Museum. DJ Shawn Frederickson will be spinning your favorite summertime tunes from 1 to 5, and there will also be a DJ at the car show from 10 to 5. Legendary folk musician and clogger Jay Smar will be performing his local folk music and singing ballads from the coal region. He will be located back by the Hegarty Blacksmith Shop during the day. There will also be strolling performances by musician Dave Matsinko during the day. Matsinko is a multi-talented instrumentalist, singer and teacher from the region. He brings a love of music and an interest in history together by performing traditional folk and American Heritage music on banjo, mandolin, guitar, and mountain dulcimer.

If you are into antiques, then there are special hours at Tink’s Antiques on Father’s Day with two floors of antiques, collectibles and jewelry to browse in a historic three story brick warehouse on South Railroad Street.

Many local school, scouting, fire company, sports, animal rescue and other organizations will be displaying their items and have fundraising sales that day. Come out and show them your support.

For more information on the Tamaqua Summerfest or to register as a vendor or exhibitor, contact Dale at the Tamaqua Historical Society at 610-597-6722 or by email to dalefreud@gmail.com. 

The Tamaqua Summerfest is a great way for the entire family to celebrate Father’s Day with dad! Free admission and free parking!

Information and Photo Submitted by Dale Freudenberger