The normally quiet streets of Forest City will bustle with action and activity on Saturday, Aug. 4, as the Forest City Trail Town Festival and 250th anniversary of anthracite celebration takes over the town.
This event is the result of a joint effort of the Greater Forest City Business Alliance, the Forest City Regional School District, the Forest City Area Historical Society and the Rail-Trail Council.
“So many have contributed to the evolution of this event,” said Lynn Conrad, chairperson of festival. “We also have the support of the borough and Emergency Services.”
Events are scheduled all day and in several locations, including downtown Forest City and the nearby Rail Trail area.
Rail Trail events begin at 8 a.m. with the annual Coal Cracker races, run by the Forest City Regional High School cross country team. There’s a two-mile race and quarter marathon to choose from. Pre-applications are available at dhdistancerun.com
A dedication of two historical signs on the trail will take place at 9:30 a.m., followed by bike rides beginning at 10 a.m.
Town events include Main Street vendors in the 400 and 500 blocks of Main Street. There will be crafts, food, music and entertainment and an all-day scavenger hunt. There will also be a Touch-A-Truck installation.
The Historical Society Museum will open at 9 a.m. and ethnic foods will be for sale in the basement. There will also be the unveiling of two more historical markers and a life-size wooden sculpture of a coal miner.
The annual Distinguished Citizen presentation will be at noon. At 1:30 Scott Herring, national chairman of the 250th anniversary of anthracite will speak. At 2:30, Rail Trail executive director Lynn Conrad will talk on the impact of railroads on Forest City’s history.
At 11 a.m., there will be the grand opening of the new dog park at Babe Ruth Field, off North Main Street. Refreshments will be available.
At 3:30 Forest City historian Mark Walsh will speak at the Rotary Miners’ Memorial at William Penn Park to discuss the sacrifices of miners in Forest City history. Christ Church will have a takeout-only chicken barbecue from 3 to 6 p.m.
At 5 p.m., a locally-written and produced mining-era play with local cast members will be staged at the Museum. The play will be followed by a march of ethnic costumes into the Museum, set to polka music.
The day’s finale will be a Forest City tradition: the light parade with floats, marching units and vehicles beginning at 9 p.m. at the Industrial Park and ending at DG’s Bar on North Main St.
After the parade, a fireworks display will cap the evening.
The following day there will be a fishing derby for kids from 8 a.m. to noon at Kennedy Park.
If some of this sounds like Forest City’s Old Home Week festival from previous years, that’s not a coincidence, Conrad said. The best of that event has been mixed in with new offerings.
“The event is definitely a descendant of Old Home Week,” she said, noting that with the improvements that have been made to the rail trail, “we thought it would be a perfect marriage.”
Conrad said the trail has been closed for more than a year due to a pipeline project. “So this will be the public’s first time on the newly restored trail from Forest City to Simpson. It may not be completely finished, but will be very usable and enjoyable.”
“We hope that people will come out to use the D&H Rail-Trail and experience what Forest City has to offer as a small town,” she added.