On the last day of September, a transformation takes place in a several-block area surrounding Main Street by the train station in Schuylkill Haven.
Traffic disappears, replaced by wandering musicians, mimes, unicycle riders and other performers roaming streets packed with activities; the air thick with the smells of festival treats.
People in Schuylkill County know what the change on Main Street means: Borough Day is back.
And the 35th annual Borough Day on Sept. 30 won’t be one to miss, according to entertainment organizer Charlie Kerschner.
“The entertainment spans just about anything you would be looking for,” Kerschner said.
This year’s lineup will feature four-legged attractions that haven’t been seen at the festival in years, according to Kerschner.
Borough Day will offer free pony rides as well as another free activity called “piggy villa” starring potbellied pigs dressed to impress.
“They’re potbellied pigs. It’s quite interesting, they dress them up in clothing and they (the pigs) perform,” Kerschner said.
One classic making a return at this year’s Borough Day are recitals for kids at Jerusalem Lutheran Church.
Debra Perkins, a music teacher who organizes the recitals, said the 50-minute performances will be spread throughout the late morning and afternoon.
Perkins said the recitals have been held every other Borough Day and feature local students showcasing their instrument skills and talents. The program serves as a fundraiser. Donations this year will go towards Operation Underground Railroad, Perkins said.
The recitals will take place at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the church.
Yet another old favorite will be chugging along this year, with a slight update.
This year’s train rides will swap out the previous year’s steam engine with a diesel passenger train from Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad.
The train will ferry passengers on a one-hour trip from Schuylkill Haven to Port Clinton.
Round trip excursions are planned for 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Organizers said several celebrity guests will also make an appearance on the train: Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger will be coming along for the ride.
Train ride tickets are $22 for adults, $9 for children over 2 years old, and free for children under 2. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time by calling 610-562-2102, or visiting www.rbmnrr-passenger.com.
The musical lineup will feature two new names: Elvis tribute singer Jay Allan and the Dave Mell Blues Band.
In addition, the ever-popular dunk tank by Schuylkill Hose Company will again give those confident in their throwing arm a chance to send local dignitaries for a quick swim.
A few other Borough Day activities include the return of Mark Petrich’s massive Lego display, bounce houses for kids, a new presentation by the Schuylkill Haven Area Historical Society on the history of banks in the area, and a jewelry sale by the Schuylkill Haven Public Library.
Food will be updated slightly this year, Kershner noted, with several new vendors coming in.
“There’s pulled pork, various Caribbean food; the food runs the whole gamut,” Kershner said.
Kerschner said Borough Day is something like a reunion for the extended Schuylkill Haven area family.
“It’s just a great day for families … a lot of people come back into town that may live out of the area,” Kerschner said. “Some high school classes even plan their reunions around Borough Day … It’s been very successful in building camaraderie.”
He estimated that Borough Day sees an average attendance of between 20,000 and 25,000 over the entire day.
“It’s just a nice, low-key day out,” Kerschner said.
Source: Berkshire mont