Joanna Furnace heralds the coming of spring with an Irish Breakfast Buffet

Submitted photo 
Phyllis Hummel of East Earl will sing traditional Irish songs at the Irish Breakfast Buffet on March 15.
Submitted photo Phyllis Hummel of East Earl will sing traditional Irish songs at the Irish Breakfast Buffet on March 15.

“There are only two kinds of people in the world, The Irish and those who wish they were.” And both groups are going to follow their appetites and descend on Joanna Furnace on Saturday March 15 from 7 a.m. to noon. Joanna Furnace, figuratively, turns green serving a delicious Gaelic inspired breakfast buffet. And if the food isn’t enough to draw people to the furnace, the entire breakfast buffet will be enhanced by traditional Irish music performed by HCVHA’s own Lady of Song, Phyllis Hummel. Most of her traditional Irish, mixed with some Scottish songs, would have been familiar to the Scotch-Irish workers at Joanna Furnace. And for the sentimental attendees, she may even throw in a few romantic love songs. Those tunes are left over from the snowed-out Valentine’s Day Breakfast which had been scheduled earlier in February.

On March 15, we will celebrate Ireland which is the native country to many of the 18th and 19th century worker families of the Joanna Furnace community. This homage to Ireland will feature a hearty, traditional Irish buffet of pancakes, waffles, fresh country sausage, homemade corn beef hash, bacon, scrapple, creamed chipped beef, scrambled eggs, country style potatoes, baked oatmeal, fruit, coffee, juice and more The cost for the all-you-can-eat buffet is $8.50 adults and $4.50 for children ages 6 to 11. Youngsters 5 years and under are free.

The Irish Breakfast marks the first of the HCVHA 2014 Saturday events, which take place on the third Saturday of each month from now until July. At every one of the special Saturday events, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history of the Hay Creek Valley, Joanna Furnace and its importance to 18th and 19th-century life in the Tri County area. Upcoming events will include a classic car show, various breakfasts, flea markets and much more.

Association and site Executive Director, Mark Zerr, states “We generally start the new year off with our Valentine’s event in February. That event celebrates an end to winter boredom. However, this year the winter snow fall caused us to have to cancel that earlier event. So now with the March Irish buffet we want to double our efforts of saying good bye to winter. Our volunteers are bringing out the ‘green’ in anticipation of spring 2014 for the families in our area communities. We invite everyone to come out and see what’s new at Joanna Furnace.”


This event always previews of all the exciting events, programs and projects everyone can look forward to for the rest of the year. The first early spring event opens Historic Joanna Furnace to the over 30,000 visitors who visit and enjoy the site throughout the visitation season. It gives people a chance to get out of the house after this unusual winter, have a hearty breakfast, meet their neighbors, and experience the area’s history. Visiting families also will have the opportunity to learn about the furnace site’s ongoing restoration projects. Visitors will get a snapshot of the how the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is working to meets its charge of focusing on local history, education and community.

The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization dedicated to preserving the history of the Hay Creek Valley. Net proceeds from this event support the restoration and educational projects of The Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and Historic Joanna Furnace.

Anyone wishing to find out more information about the 2014 events or educational programs and summer camp programs at Historic Joanna Furnace should visit the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association website at or call 610-286-0388. The Joanna Furnace site is located three miles north of Morgantown, on Route 10. Turn at Furnace Road.