Festival to celebrate Schuylkill County Park

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In 1923, the dam’s chest as we know it was created to form the lake we know today. Sweet Arrow Lake County Park is marking this important event by hosting the Lakefront Festival on Sunday, October 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is the second year of the festival, which offers various activities for all ages. Among the highlights is Mrs. U’s Zoo ReVue with live reptiles and Splash the Clown who shares his talents at making balloon animals.

Schuylkill County Trout Unlimited will be holding a selection contest, and you will be able to learn about fly tying. Penn State Master Gardeners will have a table and answer fall gardening questions.

The Lakefront Festival is a project of the Schuylkill Conservation Area and highlights the recreational and scenic aspects of the park.

“The park is managed and maintained by the Conservation District, and by hosting this festival we want to showcase just how important an impact this county park has on the quality of life in our county,” said Gina St. Clair, Conservation District Director. “We have definitely seen an increase in visitation over the past few years with more people walking the trails, fishing the waters, enjoying picnics and bird watching.”

According to the park’s website: “The lake has a rich history beginning in the 19th century when it served as a water source for the Union Canal. It brought prosperity to the area by supporting the lumber and coal industries. It also provided recreation for residents of the time; one popular activity was fishing On Ascension Day.

“The dam was destroyed during the flood of 1862, after which a new dam was built to support a power plant operated by the East Penn Electric Company in the 1920s, and later by PP&L. In 1972 the lake was purchased by the Pine Grove District.

“Most area residents have pleasant memories of fishing, swimming, hiking, boating and relaxing in the peaceful beauty of the lake. In 2001, Schuylkill County purchased the lake with the intention of creating a county park.

This East Penn Electric Company’s dam is today’s flagship and underwent major rehabilitation in the early 2000s. Visitors will remember that the lake was drained and the fish were rescued. Another important element of the festival is the dedication of a natural habitat improvement project that was completed in the upper reaches of the park.

The Little Upper Swatara River was prone to flooding, and there were numerous invasive plants disturbing the riparian habitat.

The dedication ceremony, featuring speakers passionate about the park, will be held at 11 a.m. Baked goods will be provided by the South Schuylkill Garden Club. There will be a Live Stake Nursery Tour of about 60 native trees planted in the surrounding area by Penn State Master Watershed Stewards.

The Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program was created to educate and empower volunteers to protect environmental resources.

Other highlights of the Lakefront Festival include food provided by the Boy Scouts of Pine Grove, Dennis “Nightool” Dunmuir displaying her late father-in-law’s collection of beautiful bird sculptures, and Dave “Big Owl” McSordy displaying his collection of items from his many years of being a naturalist, displaying Master Gardener Jackie Deibert vermicomposts and more.

The event is free, open to the public and suitable for all ages. Free parking is available. Feel free to contact me at porcupinepat@yahoo.com or Facebook at Porcupine Pat and call me at 570.391.3326 for additional information.

Come help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of the dam that forms our lake.

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