Saturday, July 31, 2010

Explorations: Armstrong Folk Festival

Last year, we did not get to attend the Fort Armstrong Folk Festival, because we spent that weekend, as well as the next weekend, moving in to our house.  So I was bound and determined to go this year.  The Festival stretches through Riverfront Park, and part of Water Street is shut down, so that people can mill about.  Given the size of our town, and the limited parking opportunities, we decided to just walk down, and of course, we took the dog.  As you can see, it was a beautiful evening.

The Festival is an interesting blend of craft/artisan booths, food booths, and some entertainment.  One of the first vendors we stopped at was a man who made amazing wood sculptures and furniture.

As a woman, I am always looking for cute crafty items to make our home pretty.  There were plenty of vendors who specialized in door hangings, yard accessories, and other crafty items.  Prices seemed pretty reasonable.
We actually saw about 3 booths specifically devoted to pet items or items for pet lovers.

Dexter loved that of course.  He also loved the fact that there were quite a few other doggies there, and he made fast friends with a cute little black doxie named Lucy.

Several of the artisans were there working on projects for the crowd to see.  I saw a glass artisan working on handmade glass beads.  It was pretty fascinating.

A lot of the local organizations, such as churches, the Elks, and the firemen, had set up various food booths, usually selling standard festival food like funnel cake, fries, and burgers, or local favorites, like fish sandwiches, ham barbecue, and haluski.  There were outside vendors selling more "exotic" foods like falafel, gyros, and paella of all things.  But the booth that tempted me the most (though not enough to give up any Weight Watchers points) was the booth selling roasted, candied nuts.  The smell was so amazingly tantalizing, it wafted throughout the festival.  And I just love that a Burgh based nut company named themselves Yinz R Nuts
While this is not the kind of festival that has rides, there were a few little games for the kids.  But honestly, we saw tons of children there, and they all seemed pretty entertained with the festival itself (not to mention obsessed with petting our dog).
Another big part of the Festival is History.  There are usually historical speakers or reenactments during the Festival weekend.  Because Kittanning was a site of battle in the French and Indian War, there are usually actors who will portray some part of that battle.  Also, there are Civil War reenactors that attend each year, and we got to see some.
There were also so botanical displays, and it looked as if there had been some botanical additions to the park's flowerbeds.


As we walked, we got to hear two very different forms of ethnic entertainment.  First, we heard a Polka band played, which made me feel right at home.  Then as we walked on we heard a man performing Celtic music, by which Hubby was more impresse

So, as you can see, the Fort Armstrong Folk Festival really does have quite a lot to offer.  Walking through the Festival grounds, I was a bit amazed at how transformed this little section of town looked. 

So, if you are in the Kittanning area, take some time to visit our humble little Festival.  It is one of the many things that makes this small town shine.