Backyard Tourist Columns - July 2014

By Andrew Miller

Hello neighbors!   Summer is here! And with a nasty, cold, long winter behind us, trends indicate that more people will be taking vacations this summer and spending more time having fun with family and friends.  Whether taking time to stay close to home or having friends and family come to visit, let the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau help you find your Summer Fun in July!

July is chock full of festivals, fairs and shows.  We have Lewisburg’s Sidewalk Chalk Festival, the Lycoming County Fair, the Sunbury Celebration, Mifflinburg’s Blueberries & Bluegrass Festival, Selinsgrove’s Antiques on the Avenue (formerly Antiques on the Isle), Danville’s Iron Heritage Festival, Northumberland’s Pineknotters’ Day Celebration, the Annual Nature and Arts Festival at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Arts [south of Sunbury], plus Lewisburg’s new event – the BrewBQues Music Festival [a day of beer and wine sampling, barbeque, live music and sidewalk sales throughout downtown Lewisburg].

Other must-see events include Fort Augusta Day in Sunbury; Rural Heritage Day outside of Lewisburg; Cruise-Ins at the Country Cupboard and Lickety Split in Lewisburg, plus Christmas in July at Kohl’s Stony Hill Tree Farm outside of Milton.  Roadtrip suggestion:  take a scenic daytrip to attend Eagles Mere’s Annual Summer Antique Market. 

The only thing better than acting like a kid this summer is to be one!  July’s “Just for Kids” events offer a variety of themed camps and programs.  Be sure to check out our website for more information on events for children at Owens Farms, the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art; the Packwood House Museum; Union County Libraries; R.B. Winter State Park; Thomas T. Taber Museum; Bloomsburg’s Children’s Museum; Kids College at Susquehanna University; Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland; the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority, plus the Courtyard Theater, Millbrook Playhouse, and the Horse and Carriage Ball at Treasure Castle Playland.  And you won’t want to miss Central Oak Height’s Acorn Children’s Festival, offering live music, crafts, dancing and games.  

Live music resonates throughout the Susquehanna River Valley.  Enjoy the summer concerts at Shikellamy State Park, Central Oak Heights, Slifer House Museum and in the towns of Sunbury, Milton, Lewisburg, Selinsgrove [with Piano Palooza!], Mifflinburg and Catawissa – you’ll find complete listings of concert days and times on our web site. Other events include Jerry Haines in Concert at PPL Montour Preserve; the Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival in Centre Hall; “BeeGeez USA”  and “Orbisonia & Boomer Legends Show” at the Courtyard Theater; Roadtrip suggestion:  head up north to Wellsboro and the surrounding area to enjoy their 2-week annual Endless Mountain Music Festival. 

If being outside and enjoying our great outdoors is your favorite type of summer fun, July provides you with a plethora of choices.  Animal lovers will enjoy the Butterflies, Dinosaurs and Komodo Dragon exhibits at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland; the wild and exotic animals at T&D Cats of the World, plus our favorite and familiar animals found at Owen’s Farm outside of Sunbury.  Roadtrip suggestion:  head to Centre Hall for a full guided 2 ½ hour off-road adventure by Penn’s Cave Jeeps that takes you from cave rock to mountain top throughout 1,600 acres.  Already have an off-road vehicle?  Then be sure to enjoy the gullies and obstacles at the newly open Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area outside Shamokin.July showcases the Susquehanna River, offering the “McKees Adventure Guided Recreational Kayak Trip”, the “West Branch Express Guided Kayak Trip”, “Jewel of the West Branch Kayak Trip”, “Upper Mainstem Guided Kayak Trip’ and the 9-mile, River Town Paddle for Friends of the Milton State Park that goes from Watsontown to Lewisburg. Outdoor lovers will also Photography and Flashlight Tours at Lincoln Caverns, Butterfly and Wildflower Walks at PPL Montour Preserve, plus the Sunbury Garden Tour. If you prefer pools to the river, be sure to enjoy the free Veterans Memorial Pool in McClure [with their rain tree], plus Sunbury’s Splash Hop and Lewisburg’s Big Kahuna Splash Contest.  Get your “golf on” at any of our amazing regional golf courses, putting greens, golf clinics or miniature golf courses (our Golf Brochure can be downloaded from our web site).

And last but not least:  What is July without fireworks, 4th of July celebrations and community carnivals?  Be sure to check out our Calendar of Events for more information on dates and locations for all the fireworks, 4th of July celebrations and carnivals throughout the region.  And a BIG Happy 150th Birthday to Shamokin who will host their birthday celebration and fireworks from June 29th through July 5th!  Summer is flying by fast so be sure to get out and enjoy all the fun and excitement the Susquehanna River Valley has to offer!

For more information on all August events in the Susquehanna River Valley go to; sign up for our weekly e-newsletter; call us at 1-800-525-7320; stop by our Visitor Center on Route 15, or download our Mobile App.

Andrew Miller is the Executive Director of the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau.