2013 Hay Creek Festival adds new attractions to old favorites

The Hay Creek Festival takes place at historic Joanna Furnace Sept. 6-8. Photo courtesy of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association
The Hay Creek Festival takes place at historic Joanna Furnace Sept. 6-8. Photo courtesy of the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association

As organizers and almost 1,500 volunteers fine-tune countless details, one overall mission emerges for the 37th annual Hay Creek Festival: to make the 2013 edition an extraordinary historic family adventure spanning over 150 years of area history.

And once again, this non-commercial classic will indeed have something for every member of the family.

Set for Sept. 6-8, the event is held at Joanna Furnace. The Festival runs each day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free, continuously running shuttle buses carry visitors from the parking area to the main entrance all day, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association’s Joanna Furnace site is located three miles north of Morgantown on Route 10, with close access to both the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route I176.


Displays, Exhibits, Interpretations

The comprehensive offerings this year include traditional crafts, a home crafts and antique market, living history presentations complete with interpreters in authentic garb, vintage working equipment and machinery, classic steam and gas engines, children’s hands-on activities, a four-square herb garden, military encampments, antique vehicles and tractors, traditional folk music presentations, homemade festive foods, just to name a few.

The “Early American Crafts” segment includes domestic crafts (spinning and fabric dying, basket making, candle-making, knitting, open-fire cooking, 18th century beer making, rug braiding, sauerkraut making, tinsel painting and more) and village industry (blacksmith, broom-maker, leather bookbinding, gunsmith, pottery, woodworking, pit saw, Windsor chairs, pipe drilling, glass blowing and more).

The open hearth cooking demonstration will again present authentic 18th century dishes, including onion pie, seasonal vegetable dishes, roasted meats and various items from the bake oven. Open hearth cooking’s famous apple fritters, apple pot pie and Irish fried potatoes will be available to taste for a small donation on Saturday and Sunday only.

Many returning favorites will be on hand at this year’s “Home Craft and Antique Market.” Among the unique offerings will be handmade redware pottery, candles and hand lotions, gourd birdhouses, soaps, wooden toys and bowls, handbags from vintage fabrics, quilted items, unique jewelry and much more.

In the mechanical technology arena, visitors will see a vast assortment of exhibits and presentations including early gas and steam engines/models, sawmill and threshing demonstrations, a shingle mill and water ram exhibit. There will be a variety of early 19th century manufacturing machinery. New this year, all antique registered cars are invited to participate in the festival. Plus, tractor games and a cruise will take place throughout the weekend.

The charcoal barn will continue to be one of the “new exhibit” highlights at Joanna Furnace this year. Visitors will be able to see the restored diorama of a scaled charcoal pit campsite as one part of the greatly enhanced museum and education center that will reveal a story about the people, products and community around Joanna Furnace. The continuing saga of authentic restoration of the historic site’s buildings adds to the non-commercial and educational value of the festival.

Student Day

Friday is the annual Hay Creek Festival Student Day. Through a pre-registration process, all K-8 students will be admitted free along with discounted admissions for their teachers and chaperones. In past years, as many as 1,200 public, private and home school students took advantage of Student Day activities and experienced area history. Regional school groups are invited to participate in this fun, historic learning experience. A Student Day guide and registration form can be downloaded free from the festival website at www.haycreek.org.

There will be children’s activities galore throughout the weekend, including archaeological segments, candle- and paper-making, wool-spinning, early American garb dress-up, games, scavenger hunts and more.


During the course of all three days, entertainment will be plentiful with music and other entertaining stage performances.

An array of weekend performers will include ventriloquist and puppeteer Marian & Friends, folk singer/songwriter Matt Miskie, Karen Terry Ludwig singing folk songs and ballads, George Esparza’s “Phydeaux’s Flying Flea Circus & Wahoo Medicine Show” (a throwback to the Victorian era) and the running of the roach races, singers Terry Strongheart and Phyllis Hummel, Jay Smar’s folk and bluegrass tunes, bluegrass artist Cousin Jake, folk singer Jerry Haines and Oley Valley’s Manatawny Creek Ramblers (American roots music).

On Sunday at 8:30 a.m., a non-denominational traditional 19th century worship service will take place as part of the final day agenda.


The festival aims to provide a feasting paradise for festival-goers. The wide menu is prepared and served by Hay Creek volunteers and community non-profit organizations, and includes chicken pot pie, hamburgers, hot dogs, festival-favorite Mabel’s open-fire cooked soups, breads with homemade apple butter, hand-dipped ice cream, funnel cakes, French fries and much more.

Breakfast anyone? An all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast is offered both Saturday and Sunday, from 8 to 10 a.m.

Attending the Hay Creek Festival

This event is a community and regional partnership event. The Hay Creek Festival benefits the local economy by financial returns to various participating non-profit organizations throughout the area. During the past 12 years, the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association has contributed more than $250,000 to those local participating groups and organizations.

Admission is $10 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and younger. Free parking on the large easy access lot and free shuttle buses directly to the main entrance are available.

For the safety of visitors, all are encouraged to park safely on the easy access lot 1 ˝ miles south of the Festival grounds off route 10. For more information, visit www.haycreek.org.