Monday, September 18, 2023

Lakefront Festival Marks an Important Milestone at Sweet Arrow Lake

Sweet Arrow Lake will celebrate their annual Lakefront Festival this October. 

By “Porcupine Pat” McKinney

It was in 1923 that the dam breast as we know it was constructed to make the lake that we know of today. 

Sweet Arrow Lake County Park marks this important event by hosting the Lakefront Festival that will take place on Sunday, October 15 from 11 am to 2 pm. This is the second year of the festival that offers a variety of activities for all ages. 

Of the many highlights of the festival, people will enjoy Mrs. U’s Zoo ReVue who will have live reptiles and Splash the Clown shares his animal balloon making talents. Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited have a casting contest and you’ll be able to learn about fly-tying. 

Penn State Master Gardeners will have a table and be able to answer any of your fall gardening questions. 

The Lakefront Festival is a project of the Schuylkill Conservation District and highlights the recreational and scenic aspects of the park. “The park is managed and maintained by the conservation district and we want to showcase by hosting this festival just how important an impact that this county park has made on our county’s quality of life,” said Jenna St. Clair, district manager for the conservation district.  “We certainly have seen a surge in visitation these past few years with more people walking the trails, fishing the waters, and enjoying picnicking and birding.” 

According to the park’s website: “The lake has a rich history beginning in the 19th century when it served as a water supply for the Union Canal. It brought prosperity to the region by supporting the lumber and coal industries. It also provided recreation for residents of that time; one popular activity was Ascension Day fishing. The dam was destroyed during the flood of 1862 and later a new dam was built to support an electric generation plant operated by the East Penn Electric Company in the 1920’s and later, PP&L. In 1972 the lake was purchased by the Borough of Pine Grove. Most residents of Schuylkill County have pleasant memories of fishing, swimming, picnicking, boating, and relaxing in the serene beauty of the lake. On February 21, 2001, Schuylkill County purchased the lake with the intention of creating a county park.” 

That dam for East Penn Electric is the dam breast of today with significant rehabilitation occurring in the early 2000’s. 

Visitors will recall the lake being drained and fish being rescued. Another important component of the festival will be the dedication of the stream habitat improvement project that was completed in the upper reaches of the park. 

The Upper Little Swatara Creek was flood-prone and there were many invasive plants vexing the streamside habitat. 

A dedication ceremony, featuring speakers with a passion for the park and baked goods from the South Schuylkill Garden Club, will take place at 11 am. 

The ceremony will be followed by a tour of the Live Stake Nursery of some 60 native trees that were planted in the vicinity by Penn State Master Watershed Stewards. 

The Penn State Master Watershed Steward program was established to educate and empower volunteers to protect environmental resources. 

Other features of the Lakefront Festival include food offered by Boy Scouts of Pine Grove, a display by Denise “Nightowl” Donmoyer of her late father-in-law’s collection of beautiful bird carvings, Dave “Big Owl” McSurdy features his collection of items from many years of being a naturalist, Master Gardener Jacqui Deibert showcases worm composting and more! 

The event is free and open to the public and suitable for all ages. Free parking is also available. 

Feel free to contact me at or Facebook at Porcupine Pat and call me at 570.391.3326 for additional information. 

Come help us celebrate 100 years of the dam breast that makes our lake!

Sweet Arrow Lake is located in Pine Grove Township and Washington Township in Schuylkill County.