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JULY 28-AUGUST 3, 2016

Thousands visit Black Moshannon for Summer Festival By G. KERRY WEBSTER

BLACK MOSHANNON — It’s been from one extreme to the other when it comes to the Friends of Black Moshannon’s seasonable festivals. In February, outdoor enthusiasts endured sub-zero temperatures and freezing wind-chill temperatures to attend the volunteer-based organization’s WinterFest. On July 23 and 24, Mother Nature sent another barrage of tough weather, this time in the form of mid-90 degree temperatures and soaking humidity to the 31st Annual Friends of Black Moshannon Summer Festival. Still, despite the heavy conditions, Black Moshannon Park Manager Jessica Lavelua said estimated visitor attendance for the weekend was between 3,500 and 4,000 people. “That’s about what we’ve been getting for the past two years for this festival,” said Lavelua. “The heat didn’t keep people away. Of course, neither did the cold back in February.” The festival opened on Saturday with the popular Lumber Day competition. Based on outdoor games of skill, dozens of contestants competed in myriad events, including the axe throw, spi’n thar, scat drop, nail pound and horseshoe throw, for a chance to accumulate points. The top points earners for the men and women

would be proclaimed Lumberjack and Lumberjill of 2016. Winners this year included Donny Clark Jr., of Munson, and Peggy Brown, of Petersburg, in the adult division; Michael Pierce III, of Oley, and Grace Wagner, of Port Matilda, in the teen division; and Cael Ryan, of Elizabethtown, and Lexus Weaver, of Port Matilda, in the youth division. Other events associated with Lumber Day included log rolling, log birling and cross-cut sawing. The evening concluded with a beach party with a disc jockey, which attracted between 350 and 400 people. “Sunday was a bit more of a laid back kind of day,” said Lavelua. “We had some kayak racing and different demonstrations, like fly fishing and kayaking. We also had a successful mountain bike ride.” Arguably the most interesting competition of the day was the cardboard boat races. Jack Werner and his team from Severn, Md., won the competition in the S.S. Jack. A highlight of the Sunday events was the return of the volleyball tournament. “There hasn’t been a volleyball tournament at the event for about 15 years,” said Lavelua. “We had five teams play in it this year, and hopefully, we’ll have even more in 2017.” Lavelua said plans have already started for next year’s summer celebration; however, the group known as the Friends of

MS 150, from page 1 from coming out to support a good cause. “It was hot, it was,” said Higgins. “The course is designed to keep riders from having to navigate up too many steep hills and inclines. It was a beautiful ride through beautiful Pennsylvania.” Bicyclists left Hollidaysburg and traveled through the Cove area and on through Martinsburg, Williamsburg, Spruce Creek, Warriors Mark and finally into State College. When bicyclists arrived at the Penn Stater, they had already logged nearly 80 miles on their wary legs. During the break, participants were treated to a banquet at the Penn Stater with featured guest speaker Coach Richard “Ricky Diggs.” Diggs is a former high school and


Submitted photo

LARGE CROWDS turned out for Black Moshannon’s Summer Festival, which was held July 23 and 24. Black Moshannon have much more to plan before the 2017 summer event. The Friends of Black Moshannon consists of about 50 volunteers dedicated to preserving the heritage of Pennsylvania, and in particular, Black Moshannon State Park. Of the 50 volunteers who participate, a handful more than a dozen are active members, continually pushing for bigger and better things at the park. In addition to the summer festival, the Friends also hold the WinterFest in February, as well

college football coach, mostly recently at Morgan State University. Diggs gave the audience a moving talk, describing his life after football, which saw his mother conflict a debilitating illness, followed by his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis 16 years ago. His emotional discussion told of the struggles needed to overcome to care for his disabled mother while being confined to a motorized wheelchair himself. “He was a real inspiration to listen to,” said Higgins. After a well-earned night of rest, the riders took their the bicycles early on the morning of Sunday, July 24, for the journey back to Hollidaysburg. This leg of the trip would carry riders just over 70 miles on a path similar to the one traveled on Day 1. “Overall, it was a successful event,” said Higgins. “Sure the weather was hot, but people have been looking forward to the event for some time now.” Higgins said more than 150 volunteers braved the heat to help with the event. He gave a particular mention to the Nittany Amateur Radio Club, based in Centre County. Club members set up key radio spots along the course to keep communications




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as a Women in the Wilds event in May, a Wild Child event on Father’s Day weekend in June and the Cranberry Festival in October. “It’s a great group of people that are really into what they do,” said Lavelua. “We’re lucky to have such a wonderful group supporting us in the ways they do.” To find out more about The Friends of Black Moshannon, or Black Moshannon State Park in general, visit www.dcnr.state. or call (814) 342-5960.

available at all times just in case of an emergency. “There’s plenty of sections of the route that just didn’t have cell service,” said Higgins. “These guys and girls should be commended for the help they provided.” Higgins said organizers of the event said the influx of riders to the State College area provided a quick boon for local businesses. He said they estimated an additional $30,000 was pumped into the local economy in hotel reservations and area eateries alone. Higgins said he couldn’t put an exact number on the amount raised during the ride. “This branch of the organization represents 56 of the counties in Pennsylvania,” said Higgins. “That’s pretty much the whole state, except the Philadelphia area. On a whole, the goal was to raise a half-million dollars throughout the entire state. Last weekend, I met a guy who had raised $185,000 himself. So, I’m pretty sure the goal was reached.” Higgins said he is already looking forward to next year’s MS 150. He has pedaled in five of the MS 150 events, and to date, has logged 1,200 miles in benefit of multiple sclerosis research funding.

Centre County Gazette, July 28, 2016  
Centre County Gazette, July 28, 2016