2017-06-19 / Today's Top Stories

Pisgah squares up with summer

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BY BRIANNE OSTRANDER

Staff Writer

Ladies swung on gentlemen’s arms and smoke wafted from grill stacks at Mount Pisgah’s Summer Solstice Square Dance Friday night. Over 100 individuals gathered for the sixth year of the event, which serves as not only a beloved community gathering, but also a fundraiser for the State Park.

Park management expected near 150 participants to attend the square dance by the end of the night and take advantage of the 6 to 10 p.m. time frame.

Individuals with a variety of different ages and dance skill sets celebrated “the great outdoors,” in a fashion they are proud to say is a little dated.

Nicole Harris, environmental education specialist for Mount Pisgah, shared that the dance is purposefully planned to be held at the tail of June, around the time local farmers finish up the first cutting of hay. She explained that families are often looking to do something to celebrate the field’s first harvest and the Summer Solstice Square Dance often piques their interest.

To add extra gloss to the simplistic farm town charm of such an event, classic seasonal foods were offered for purchase as dinner options; from hotdogs and hamburgers to pies for dessert.

While the large group of people, enough to form six different dancing squares, were in charge of supplying the swing, the McNett Country Band provided the music under a pavilion in the hill top section of the park.

Harris shared that the idea for the dance was a brain child of Neva Allen, its first year sponsor. It has since been made possible through PA Partners in the Arts Grants. All proceeds from the $5 admission cost and food sales benefit Friends of Mount Pisgah to update and better the park.

The square dance is one of the only fundraisers Mount Pisgah State Park conducts, the other being it’s Women in the Wilds day. Women in the Wilds takes place Saturday August 12 from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and offers women ages 14 and up an opportunity to learn outdoors skills and try their hand at activities like archery, soapstone carving, chainsaw safety, flyfishing and GPS geocaching.

Proceeds collected from this event cycle back into the park, making possible Pisgah’s many free events, such as its Youth Field Day on Aug. 26, Patriots in the Park on Sept. 9 and Apple Butter Day on Oct. 14.

Harris pointed out that Pisgah has free activities for many interests, from astronomy programs to 3-D archery shoots, almost every week.

Maren Callahan, head of Friends of Mount Pisgah State Park, highlighted that she wants “to encourage people to come and check out the park and the events, and that they might see that it’s different from when they were kids. I mean, I think we were all here when we were kids, but it’s still beautiful, it’s still a great way to have activity and nature in your life and as a dietician I encourage people to get out here for physical activity and to unplug for a little while.”

The Summer Solstice Square Dance was valued highly by Harris as a great way to begin the summer activity schedule because of its inclusive nature.

“This is a neat event because it brings family, friends, neighbors to the park kind of together,” she said.

Be it for a quaint old timed square dance, a hike, or a fast paced day program, Mount Pisgah State Park facilitates outdoor adventure swinging arm in arm with companionship.

For more information on activities scheduled at Mount Pisgah, contact (570) 297-2734 or look them up online at mtpisgahsp@pa.gov.

Brianne Ostrander can be reached at (570) 265-2151 ext. 1627 or bostrander@thedailyreview.com.

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