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Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News, Top Features

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10 Things to Do in Columbia & Montour Counties This Year

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News Leave a Comment

by: Nancy Bishop

Nestled in picturesque northeastern Pennsylvania near the Pocono Mountains, Columbia & Montour counties offer things to do to satisfy everyone – from the outdoor enthusiast to the history buff. Here are my top 10, in no particular order:

  1. Ricketts Glen State Park
  2. Montour Preserve
  3. Knoebels Amusement Resort
  4. Historic Covered Bridges of Columbia & Montour Counties
  5. Covered Bridge & Arts Festival
  6. Briggs Farm Blues Festival
  7. Bloomsburg Fair
  8. Bill’s Old Bike Barn
  9. Berwick Christmas Boulevard & Winterfest
  10. Benton Rodeo


1. Ricketts Glen State Park

Ricketts Glen State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s most scenic.

With more than 13,000 acres, Ricketts Glen State Park, located at 695 State Route 487, above Benton in Columbia County, is one of the most scenic areas in all of Pennsylvania. The park is annually one of the most popular in the state, for good reason. Ricketts Glen is home to the Glens Natural Area, a National Natural Landmark. Hike the Falls Trail and explore the Glens, which has a series of wild, free-flowing waterfalls, each cascading through rock-strewn clefts in this ancient hillside. The 94-foot Ganoga Falls is the highest of 22 named waterfalls in the park. Old growth timber and diverse wildlife add to the scenic landscape and inspiring beauty.

The 245-acre Lake Jean offers swimming and boating (electric motors only). A boat rental concession operates during the summer season and offers rowboats, paddleboats, kayaks and canoes. Ten modern cabins are available for rental year-round and the park also has 120 campsites. To learn more about Ricketts Glen State Park, visit their official website.

2. Montour Preserve

The Montour Preserve – Photo Credit: @kyleshikes

Located off Route 54 near Danville, the Montour Preserve is a hiker’s paradise with 11 trails located around Lake Chillisquaque, a 165-acre reservoir on the middle branch of Chillisquaque Creek. An Environmental Education Center is located near the entrance to the Preserve and is a great place for kids and adults alike to learn about some of the region’s history, animal inhabitants, and more.  If you’re out exploring the trails or enjoying the lake, you may just spot a majestic bald eagle overhead, as they will occasionally nest around the lake.

While visiting the Preserve, visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the many lakeside pavilions, try their hand at fishing in the lake, or visit the Montour Preserve Fossil Pit, which consists of approximately one acre of exposed Mahantango Formation shale. Formed some 395 million years ago during the Devonian Period when much of Pennsylvania was covered by a warm, shallow sea, these shales are particularly rich in fossils. The best part? You can keep anything that you find!

The Montour Preserve – Photo Credit: @teamhontz

March is an especially great time to visit the Preserve, namely for the annual Maple Sugaring Open House.  This year’s open house is planned for Saturday, February 29during the hours of 9:30am – 1:30pm, and again on Saturday, March 14, during the hours of 12:00pm – 4:00pm. On Saturday, February 29, the program will include a pancake breakfast from 9am – 11am (tickets must be purchased in advance) and outdoor demonstrations at the sugar shack and sugar bush from 9:30am – 1:30pm.

On Saturday, March 14, the program will include both an indoor and an outdoor component.  The two-hour program begins in the Environmental Education Center with a short talk and film on the cultural and natural history of maple sugaring. This is followed by a short walk to the sugar shack and sugar bush to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of maple sugaring.  Attendees may choose to attend the indoor and/or the outdoor portions of the day’s programs. Maple products will be available for purchase on both dates as in previous years. Participants should dress for the weather. The sugaring open house programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Jon Beam, Assistant Director, Montour Area Recreation Commission at: JBeam@MontourRec.com.

The Montour Preserve is open from dawn until dusk daily year-round. The Visitors’ Center is open Monday – Saturday from 8 AM – 4 PM during mid-February through mid-December. It is open Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 4 PM during the winter season (mid-December through mid-February). The Montour Preserve is managed by the Montour Area Recreation Commission. To learn more about the Montour Preserve, visit their official website.

3. Knoebels Amusement Resort

The Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Resort

Regardless of whether you are a local to the area or a potential visitor from outside the area, Knoebels Amusement Resort is an absolute can’t-miss each year. Visit America’s largest free-admission amusement park and make new memories the old fashioned way with classic rollercoasters, kid-friendly rides, swimming, camping, golf and attractions for the whole family!

Whether you want a tame ride or a thrill, Knoebels has it all. Be sure to try the Phoenix, a classic wooden coaster that has been ranked as the top wooden roller coaster in the world for the past two years at the annual Golden Ticket Awards, presented by Amusement Today. This nostalgic favorite always offers a thrill that won’t disappoint. A fast ride with upwards acceleration and a “double out and back” layout has passengers flying through the air and catching a bird’s eye view of the rolling, tree-covered hills. Aptly named, the Phoenix was reborn at Knoebels in 1985 after rising from the ashes of its history as the “Rocket” roller coaster, which was built in 1947 in San Antonio TX.

Another favorite is “Flying Turns”, a trackless wooden bobsled coaster that is the only of its kind in the world. Each car leaves the rails for a ride controlled only by the forces of gravity and momentum. A modern remake of an old Coney Island classic, this ride will not disappoint adrenaline seekers.  The park also has classic rides like bumper cars, the ferris wheel, and a historic carousel.

Flying Turns at Knoebels Amusement Resort

Want to take a break from the action? Not a big ride fan? There are plenty of other attractions at Knoebels for the casual amusement park fan. Take a tour of the museums, visit the bald eagle habitat, try your hand at mini golf, or enjoy an immersive 4D  movie experience. You can even watch live demonstrations from the Black Smith and Lost Logger in the Americana section. Just down the road from the park, you even can enjoy 18 holes at Knoebels Three Ponds Golf Course. For more information about Knoebels Amusement Resort, visit their official website.

4. Historic Covered Bridges of Columbia & Montour Counties

The Sam Eckman Bridge is one of 25 Historic Covered Bridges in the Counties

Pennsylvania is the state with the most covered bridges remaining in the country, with approximately 200 bridges. Columbia and Montour counties are home to 25 of the state’s covered bridges. This places the counties as having the third highest number of bridges in the entire United States, only behind Parke County, Indiana and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. No two covered bridges are alike and each one has its own history, personality and story to tell. Columbia County alone has 19 bridges, Montour County has two covered bridges and four additional bridges span the divide between Columbia & Northumberland counties. Explore on your own or join the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau for its 7th annual Covered Bridge Bus Tour in May of 2020 (call the Columbia-Montour Welcome Center at 570-784-8279 for details). Many of the bridges are located on quiet dirt roads or in small town parks, so the journey to each will be a pleasant trip into the rural countryside.

Perhaps the most iconic highlight of the area’s covered treasures are the East and West Paden “Twin” Covered Bridges. They are one of only two sets of twin bridges in the country.  If you are interested in visiting the area’s historic historic covered bridges, you can find more information right here.

5. Covered Bridge & Arts Festival

The Covered Bridge & Arts Festival

Situated in the beautiful surroundings of Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, the Covered Bridge & Arts Festival has something for everyone. More than 350 craft vendors & 38 food vendors, amusement park rides, free parking & free admission make it a fun excursion for the family. The festival annually draws over 150,000 visitors over the course of the four days, making it one of the largest craft shows in the state.

Also offered on several days during the festival are guided bus tours to several of the Columbia County covered bridges – including the Twin Covered Bridges. The traditional journey includes the following bridges: Paar’s Mill, Esther Furnace, Davis, Hollingshead, Rupert, Josiah Hess, Stillwater, East & West Paden (the “Twin Bridges”), and occasionally the Johnson Bridge (time permitting). Tickets must be purchased in advance for the bus tours.

The 39th Annual Covered Bridge & Arts Festival will take place October 8 – 11, 2020. For more information about this year’s festival, please visit the official Covered Bridge & Arts Festival web page.

6. Briggs Farm Blues Festival

The annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival is gearing up for its 23rd annual show this year on July 9-11, 2020. One of the most-awarded blues festivals in the country, BriggsFest continues to provide world-class blues music in a family-friendly environment. There’s something for everyone to enjoy – from farm-fresh sweet corn and soul food to a vendor village and free hay rides pulled by red antique tractors. Located on Route 93 only a few miles north of Interstate 80, Briggs Farm is easy to reach and offers camping as well as easy access to nearby hotels. To find out what’s playing on BriggsFest’s three stages in 2020, visit Briggs Farm’s festival website.

Briggs Farm Blues Fest

7. Bloomsburg Fair

The Bloomsburg Fair – Photo Credit: @ryguysworld

Anyone familiar with Central Pennsylvania will be able to tell you about the Bloomsburg Fair. The Fair is celebrating its 165th year in 2020, and will run from September 25 – October 3. Check out the agricultural exhibits and the national act concerts – see Brad Paisley on September 27th and Chicago on October 2nd, just to name a few.  However, the biggest draw to the Bloomsburg Fair is undoubtedly THE FOOD. Whatever you could imagine – funnel cakes, cheesesteaks, bacon flavored cotton candy, 50 different flavors of egg rolls, cinnamon ice cream, apple dumplings, deep fried pickles or oreos, corn dogs, caramel apples, pierogies – you can find it at the Bloomsburg Fair. Amusement rides, demolition derby, tractor pulls, horse races, tigers, and wild west shows are all just added bonuses. For more info, head over the the Bloomsburg Fair’s official website.

8. Bill’s Old Bike Barn

Bills Old Bike Barn outside of Berwick, PA.

Bill’s Old Bike Barn on Rt. 11 between Bloomsburg and Berwick is a must-see experience for everyone, both young and old. Bill’s has amazing displays of motorcycles and memorabilia from all around the globe. Each time you visit you’re sure to find another item you missed on your previous trips. The front room of motorcycles is impressive enough, but then you’ll find the military display in the next room, complete with foxhole, a ’45 NOS Military Bike, a 30-caliber machine gun, and even palm trees finished off with Spanish moss! No detail was left out, right down to the 1940 military parachute that covers the display.  Also, a 1913 Harley Silent Grey Fellow and a 1914 Triumph have taken their place along with vintage European carousel horses and pristine Moto Guzzi’s and the incomparable 1909 Peugot.

Bill also collects 1939 New York World’s Fair memorabilia, which is displayed along Main Street in Billville, the little village constructed inside the building that is complete with a mock mansion, smoke shop, music store and a 1939 New York World’s Fair Bar. Countless other rooms display oddities and collectibles that Bill has found over the years.  One of his most recent additions was an entire room devoted to Mickey Mouse memorabilia, which is an absolutely incredible sight to see.

Bill’s Old Bike Barn is open year-round Thursdays & Fridays from 10 AM – 6 PM, Saturdays from 9:30 AM – 3 PM, and Sundays from 1 PM – 5 PM. Admission is just $5.00. For more information, visit Bill’s Old Bike Barn’s official website.

9. Berwick Christmas Boulevard and Winterfest

Every night in December, Market Street in Berwick comes alive with lights, animatronics, singing displays, and decorations on the annual Berwick Christmas Boulevard. Bring the whole family and drive the one-mile route to enjoy the festive displays and wave to Santa from the warmth of your car. On December 1st, the Christmas Boulevard powers up its lights, while the town also plays host to the Berwick Winterfest. The sidewalks will be packed with delicious foods, toasty drinks, and craft vendors. Other activities include free cookie decorating, horse & carriage rides, a gingerbread house contest, crafts, face painting, marshmallow-roasting stations, live music and ice-sculpting. Find more information about the Christmas Boulevard and Winterfest and plan to pay Berwick a visit in 2020.

 

10. Benton Rodeo

Benton Championship Rodeo

Cowboys and cowgirls from across the country come to northern Columbia County each July to compete in activities such as bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping, bareback bronc riding, and more at the Benton Rodeo grounds. If you’ve never been to a rodeo before, you’re in for quite a show.  The Benton Championship Rodeo is considered one of the finest rodeos east of the Mississippi, with competitors vying for top honors each night.

The rodeo will be celebrating its 36th anniversary in 2020, and will host the Championship Rodeo and Frontier Days Celebration from July 14 – 19. For more information about this year’s upcoming rodeo, visit the Benton Rodeo Association’s official website.

Renaissance Jamboree Returns to Downtown Bloomsburg

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News

BLOOMSBURG — March 24th, 2023 — The Renaissance Jamboree festival returns to the downtown of Bloomsburg on Saturday, April 29th after a four-year absence. The event will be held on Main Street from 10 AM – 5 PM.

For over 42 years, residents from all over Northeast PA have gathered and celebrated Spring’s return at the annual Renaissance Jamboree in Bloomsburg.  “The festival was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 and had to move its location in 2022 due to a penn-DOT paving project.  We are excited to announce the return of Renaissance Jamboree to Main Street in downtown Bloomsburg” said Cindy Schultz, Renaissance Jamboree committee co-chair.

Festival highlights include the return of the popular band, Joyous, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble’s Theater in the Classroom performance of “Park Protectors: The Story of the Buffalo Soldiers and the National Park Service”,  children’s entertainers, pony rides and more.

Festival goers can still expect for the Festival to boast more than 160 arts/crafts vendors and regional non-profit organization booths alongside live music, dance, and special performances. Additionally, food trucks will donate a portion of their sales to local non-profit partners.

Parking will be at the West end parking lot of the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds (enter Gate 2 and look for the Renaissance Jamboree signs) & the front parking lot of the Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital.  A free shuttle bus will run from those lots to the downtown for the festival. Visit www.renaissancejamboree.org for more information and a complete schedule of entertainment and vendors. The annual Renaissance Jamboree is the largest event co-sponsored by Downtown Bloomsburg Inc., the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, Bloomsburg University, Program Board of Bloomsburg University, the Town of Bloomsburg, and the Renaissance Jamboree Committee.

It’s Fishing Season in Central PA!

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News

March, 2023

Fishing season is here again! Opening Day of Trout season is Saturday, April 1st. Fishing in Columbia & Montour Counties is a wonderful way to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Here are all the resources you might need to hit the water this year and have a blast reeling in the big one.

Statewide Opening Day of Trout – April 1st
End of Trout Regular Season – September 4th
– Extended Season: All stocked trout waters, streams plus lakes and ponds: September 5th to December 31st.

TIME: 8 AM
MINIMUM SIZE: 7 inches
FISHING HOURS: 24 hours a day, after the 8 AM opener
CREEL LIMITS:
Regular season: 5 (combined species)
Extended season: 3 (combined species)
New – Extended season regulations only apply to waters managed as Stocked Trout Waters (STW).  All waters downstream of STW are no longer managed under extended season regulations.  The complete list of STW can be found in the 2023 Summary of PA Fishing Laws and Regulations.

Photo courtesy of barryandcathybeck.com

Other Important Fishing Season Dates

Opening Day of Walleye & Sauger: Saturday, May 6
Re-opening Day of Bass: Saturday, June 1
0 – while Bass Season is open year round, there is a no harvest period from 12:01 a.m. the second Saturday in April (April 8, 2023) to 12:01 a.m. the second Saturday in June (June 10, 2023). During the no harvest season, anglers must immediately return any bass to the water and are prohibited from casting into spawning beds.

Fishing License Information

Fishing licenses are available to purchase online from the PA Fish & Boat Commission by clicking here. You may also purchase a license in person at various locations throughout the state. Find a location by reviewing this interactive statewide map. To review pricing for all available licenses, including multi-year licenses, please click here or view the chart below.

Locations in Montour County selling in-person fishing licenses:
Montour County Treasurer
435 East Front Street, Danville, PA 17821
Phone: 570-271-3016

Locations in Columbia County selling in-person fishing licenses:
Bloomsburg Title Tag & Notary
550 East Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-416-0878

C.M. Laubach & Sons, Inc.
547 East 8th Street, Berwick, PA 18603
Phone: 570-752-3620

Columbia County Treasurer
11 West Main Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-389-5626

Dunham’s Sports
225 Columbia Mall Drive, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-389-9681

Gumpy’s Creekside Cabin
2861 Route 42, Millville, PA 17846
Phone: 570-458-5131

Maple Ridge Sports Center
402 Main Street, Orangeville, PA 17859
Phone: 570-387-5099

Red Rock Corner Store
121 State Route 118, Benton, PA 17814
Phone: 570-854-3622

Wal Mart #1794 Buckhorn/Bloomsburg
100 Lunger Drive, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Phone: 570-389-5750

  • In addition to a fishing license, trout anglers 16 and older must posses a Trout Permit (or Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit) to fish for trout.
  • A Lake Erie Permit (or Combination Trout/Lake Erie Permit) is also needed to fish for trout, salmon and steelhead in Lake Erie and its tributaries.
  • Licenses must be signed in ink and displayed on an outer garment. Anglers must also be able to provide positive proof of identification (other than the fishing license) upon request of a Waterways Conservation Officer.
  • Valid Dates – 2023 licenses and permits are valid December 1, 2022 through December 31, 2023 (except 1, 3 and 7-day licenses) and are available beginning Dec. 1, 2022 at issuing agents statewide and online at huntfish.pa.gov.
  • Non-resident students attending in-state universities now qualify for a discounted fishing license from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. The price of a license is $25.47, which is the same price as an annual license for state residents and $31.50 less than the cost of an annual non-resident license.
Photo courtesy of barryandcathybeck.com

Fish-For-Free Days

Sunday, May 28, 2023 & Tuesday, July 4, 2023 (Independence Day) are 2023 Fish-for-Free Days

Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways on the designated days with NO FISHING LICENSE REQUIRED (Trout/Salmon and Lake Erie permits are also NOT required). All other fishing regulations still apply.

Fish-for-Free Days are great ways for families to “catch” the fun of fishing!

Statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Click here to learn more about this program.

Photo courtesy of: PA Fish & Boat Commission

Stocking

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 696 streams and 128 lakes open to public angling.  These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.2 million Rainbow Trout; 686,000 Brown Trout; and 293,000 Brook Trout.  As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length with an average weight of .58 pounds.

2023 Adult Trout Stocking Schedule – click to view. Navigate by county and date to review stocking schedule for the season throughout the state.

In 2023, the PFBC will stock approximately 3.2 million adult trout in 697 streams and 126 lakes open to public angling.  These figures, which are consistent with the number of trout stocked over the past decade, include approximately 2.3 million Rainbow Trout; 707,000 Brown Trout; and 168,000 Brook Trout.  As with past practice, the average size of the trout produced for stocking is 11 inches in length with an average weight of .58 pounds.

In 2023, anglers will have an excellent chance to catch large, trophy-sized trout.  This year, the PFBC will stock approximately 70,000 brood fish, which are 2 ½ year-old and 3 ½ year-old hatchery-raised Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout measuring 14-20 inches.  Roughly 70% of these large fish will be stocked into streams and lakes during the preseason prior to opening day of trout season, and 30% will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings.

In 2023, the PFBC will stock approximately 14,000 golden Rainbow Trout.  In addition to being stocked during the preseason period before opening day, these highly prized fish featuring vibrant golden-orange pigmentation and weighing an average of 1.5 pounds will be stocked during in-season replenishment stockings.  Approximately 80% of golden Rainbow Trout will be stocked during the preseason, and approximately 20% will be stocked in-season.

In addition to trout raised at state fish hatcheries, PFBC cooperative nurseries operated by sportsmen’s clubs and other groups across the state will add another one million trout to waters open to public angling throughout the year.

Once again included in this year’s stocking lists are the Keystone Select Stocked Trout Waters, a program where sections of 24 streams across the state are stocked with large trout measuring 14-20 inches and managed under Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only or Miscellaneous Special regulations.  Under the program, approximately 10,000 large trout will be distributed among the streams.  The trout will be stocked at a rate of 175 to 225 per mile of stream, which is comparable to the numbers of similarly sized fish in Pennsylvania’s best wild trout waters.

Where to Fish

In addition to the stocked waters, Pennsylvania also has thousands of wild trout streams. These streams are a great resource and offer a different challenge and reward for anglers. Use the PA Fish & Boat Commission’s interactive map to find a stream, boat access, stocked trout lake and more.

Or, simply navigate the interactive map resource below to locate the perfect stream to fish! Simply close the default PFBC popup window and begin navigating the map, using the filter options on the left side to locate specific waters. Map will typically display best on a desktop or tablet screen.

Still looking for some suggestions of where to start? Here’s some ideas from a local expert, John “Toast” Oast.

John “Toast” Oast is a professional kayak angler and host of the popular Fishyaker YouTube channel. His channel has received over 3 million video views, and John regularly posts videos with fishing tips, highlights, conditions, gear reviews, and more.  A resident of Bloomsburg, Oast’s kayak fishing exploits have been featured in various regional and national publications, videos, and television shows, and he travels extensively competing in kayak fishing tournaments and promoting the sport.

Guided Fishing

Want to hit the water but need some guidance or lessons? Connect with Barry & Cathy Beck, located in northern Columbia County. Fly fishing is what the Becks do, and have been doing for more than 30 years. They understand that what you are looking for may be different from the next person, or family, or group- so they offer options in programs that will hopefully be exactly what you are looking for. Visit their website to view program options, including private or group lessons as well as guided fishing trips and more, or contact their office directly at 570-925-2392.

Photo courtesy of barryandcathybeck.com

Toast’s Top 5 Fishing Spots in Columbia & Montour Counties

#1:  Kayak or canoe fishing float from Bloomsburg to Danville on the Susquehanna River

For those interested in a beautiful, scenic downstream float or fishing trip, launch at the Bloomsburg Airport PFBC access and take out at the Danville PFBC access.  This is a longer trip, so it is best accomplished in a full day during the longer summer months.  This stretch is great for anyone, from the novice to the advanced paddler.  This float is best by paddlecraft, as during summer and lower-water periods, there may be extremely shallow areas and submerged boulders and ledges.  Anglers on this stretch may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.

Fisherman on the Susquehanna, courtesy of John Oast

#2:   Downstream of the I-80 Bridge on the Susquehanna River

This stretch, for approximately one mile downstream of the I80 bridge in Columbia County, is accessible by most any watercraft, from multiple access points, and partially by shore anglers.  It combines shallow elevation changes with moving water, as well as deeper areas.  Anglers on this stretch may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.

#3:  Fishing Creek

Fishing Creek is one of the Pennsylvania’s legendary fishing destinations for avid trout anglers.  There are numerous public and private fishing areas along the creek, from I-80 northward.

Fishing Creek & Huntington Creek in Columbia County are prime trout fishing waters. Photo courtesy of barryandcathybeck.com

#4:  Weiser State Forest, Roaring Creek Tract

This often overlooked chain of three lake reservoirs and connecting creek are great locations for anglers and owners of canoes and kayaks.  Special regulations exist for each of these bodies of water, so check with current posted and online regulations. Anglers may catch smallmouth and largemouth bass, pickerel, catfish, and panfish.

At Weiser State Forest – Roaring Creek Tract

#5:  Bloomsburg Town Park

Looking for a great place to take the family for a picnic or to introduce a child to fishing?  Bloomsburg Town Park has both access to the Susquehanna River and the park’s small lake impoundment.  Anglers and paddlers may fish from the river’s shore or launch small watercraft, or fish from the shore at the relaxing environment of the park lake.  Anglers along the river may catch smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, catfish, and northern pike.  Anglers in the lake may catch largemouth bass, catfish, panfish, and carp.

Extend Your Visit

Plan on adding a few extra days to your fishing adventure, whether it be a solo trip, a trip with your best pals, or an outdoor-themed family vacation. The area is home to many fantastic attractions, including Knoebels Amusement Resort, Bill’s Old Bike Barn, Ricketts Glen State Park, the Montour Preserve, 25 historic covered bridges, and much more. Check out some of the options by visiting our Area Attractions page. Want some pre-planned itinerary ideas to get you started? Visit our Day Trips & Weekend Getaways section! Just need to fine tune your outdoor visit? You’ll find plenty of information on our Outdoor Recreation pages.

You’ll find fun times at Knoebels Amusement Resort.

Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble Announces Summer Auditions

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. – BTE is pleased to announce an audition date for this summer’s ‘Dragons Love Tacos.’ Auditions for children and teens ages 8 to 18 will be held on April 15th at the Alvina Krause Theatre, 226 Center Street, Bloomsburg. The doors will open at 9:30 am, and auditions begin at 10:00 am.

‘Dragons Love Tacos’ is a playful and funny family show. BTE is looking for two casts of community kids for a variety of roles. Everyone auditioning must prepare a 30-second funny pantomime of any activity of their choosing. Make the actions and choices very clear—the bigger, the better! Everyone should also be prepared to show their favorite dance moves (dragons love dancing… and tacos, of course). Callbacks will be held at 1:00 pm the same afternoon. Cast members must be available for afternoon and evening rehearsals beginning May 30th and for performances running from July 6th through July 23rd. More information can be found at www.bte.org/summer. Any questions can be emailed to the Director, Amy Rene Byrne, at amyrenebyrne@gmail.com.

To audition for the play, potential cast members must have had their first COVID vaccination by the audition date and must present their vaccine card upon registering that morning. Everyone cast in the show will be required to be fully vaccinated by the beginning of rehearsals on May 30th. BTE follows the current CDC guidance on what constitutes ‘fully vaccinated’ per age group. Founded in 1978 as an artist driven, community-based resident ensemble, BTE creates innovative work with local and national impact. Today, BTE produces a lively mix of classic and contemporary plays and original theatre education programs for all ages. For more information about our shows and programs, please see www.bte.org.

Weis Center Presents Two Family Discovery Performances in March

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau Art, News

The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will present two Family Discovery performances in March: The Griegol by Trick of the Light Theatre on Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. which is ideal for ages 10+ and Divi Roxx Kids on Saturday, March 11 at 1 p.m. which is ideal for all ages. Both performances will take place in the Concert Hall.

ABOUT THE GRIEGOL
Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

The Griegol performance is sponsored, in part, by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and Adriana Rojas and family in memory of Andrew. The Exchange’s Art Cart will offer free all-ages activities from 6:30-7:15 p.m. in the Atrium.

An eerie, elegant wordless tale about death, love, grief and monsters.
Suggested for ages 10+.

The Griegol

After their grandmother passes away, a child suspects they are being pursued by the smoke demon shapeshifter of the old woman’s stories. In the tradition of Spirited Away and Coraline, The Griegol is a mythic, gorgeously rendered dark fantasy for brave children and lovers of atmospheric theatre. From Trick of the Light Theatre (The Bookbinder) comes a strikingly inventive new work that conjures magic and laughter out of silhouettes, puppetry, live music and animation. Drawing on the techniques of silent film, audiences see both the stage effects and how they are made. Just as the staging combines hi-fi with lo-fi technology, the story combines the mythic and magic with the domestic and everyday, and a through line of light and love that carries through the darkness.

Trick of the Light Theatre is an award-winning company from Aotearoa/New Zealand, founded by Hannah Smith and Ralph McCubbin Howell. They make theatre that is playful, inventive and thought-provoking that speaks to the here and now. Their shows are unified by their attention to narrative, inventive visual design and belief that theatre should resonate with the wider world. Their latest show, The Griegol, premiered at the Auckland Arts Festival in March 2021.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 62+ and subscribers, $10 for youth 18 and under, $10 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), free for Bucknell students and $10 for non-Bucknell students (limit 2).

Tickets can be reserved by calling 570-577-1000 or online at Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

ABOUT DIVI ROXX KIDS
Saturday, March 11 at 1 p.m.

The Divi Roxx Kids performance is sponsored, in part, by the Press Enterprise and the Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau. The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum will offer free pre-performance activities from 12-12:45 p.m. in the Atrium. Activities will include: making a rocking guitar and tambourines, as well as a green screen photo booth.

Run time: 75 minutes, no intermission
Suggested for all ages.

Divi Roxx

Divinity “Divi” Roxx is a multi-hyphenated award-winning musician, recording artist and composer who is celebrated for her inspirational lyrics and infectious grooves. Divi Roxx Kids is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and young adults through inspiring, empowering and entertaining music and media that educate and guide them to be the best versions of themselves.

Her career as a bass-player skyrocketed after attending a bass camp led by the legendary Victor Wooten where she was invited to tour with the five-time Grammy Award-winning virtuoso three months after attending the camp.

After touring with Wooten for five years, she toured and performed with Beyoncé as her bassist and musical director. Roxx was a featured soloist and also composed original music for Beyoncé’s I… Am Sasha Fierce tour and DVD. She has appeared on countless television shows including the Grammy Awards, Saturday Night Live, Good Morning America, Ellen and more, with personal highlights a special performance at The White House with President Barack Obama and an appearance on the hit TV show Soul Man.

Despite her appearances with so many legendary and iconic figures, it is in Roxx’s solo performance that she shines brightest. She combines virtuosic bass playing with an eclectic mash-up of hip-hop, rock and funk that she calls “alternative soul.” Her passion for composition combined with her lyrical prowess and electrifying stage presence has earned her the moniker “mood elevator.” Her 2016 release, ImPossible, received critical acclaim and earned her an Independent Music Award for Best Spoken Word Album.

Roxx is furthering her mission to inspire and empower others through her newly formed production company, Divi Roxx Kids. She released her debut, full-length family music album, Ready Set Go!, in 2021. It received critical acclaim and Scholastic Inc. published two of the songs as picture books.

Roxx lives in New Jersey with her family. She joined the Berklee Online teaching staff in the fall.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for youth 18 and under: $5. No discounts may be applied.

Tickets can be reserved by calling 570-577-1000 or online at Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

The Exchange’s Listening Room hosts Four Great Guitarists on February 22nd

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau Art, News

On Wednesday, February 22nd, The Exchange in Bloomsburg will feature Four Great Guitarists at their monthly Listening Room, beginning at 7:00 pm. Inspired by the Chester & Lester (Chet Atkins and Les Paul) jam session from 1976, which won a Grammy award, Four Great Guitarists will bring together four musicians from a variety of genres who have never played together for an evening of picking and strumming. Spanning several generations, the musicians include Jesse Loewy from Havertown, Pennsylvania; Gabe Stillman from Williamsport; Stew Cutler from Woodstock, New York; and Don Waller from Long Island, N.Y. There is a suggested donation of $10, and seating is limited, so please call for reservations at 570-317-2596.

Jesse Loewy began his musical career at the age of 8, performing at open mic nights in his local area. By the age of 13, he had formed his own band, playing gigs most weekends while keeping up with his school studies and cello lessons. About the same time, Jesse met Lonnie Shields, a long-established Blues musician who took Jesse under his wing. For several years they performed together around the country, including at the Briggs Farm Blues Festival in Nescopeck and The Exchange’s Destination Blues Music Festival. Jesse continues to perform with The Jesse Loewy Band.

After graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music in 2015, Gabe Stillman formed his own band and proceeded to make his mark in the Blues world. In 2019 Gabe and his band represented the Billtown Blues Association at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. Competing against 101 other acts, Gabe’s band was one of four that advanced to the finals. Although they did not win for Best Band, Gabe was honored to be chosen as the Best Guitarist and awarded a custom-made Gibson guitar. Also a prolific songwriter, Gabe wrote 13 of the 15 tracks on his new CD, Just Say the Word. Gabe has recently opened for ZZ Top and Buddy Guy.

With a career of 40+ years playing guitar in a variety of genres, including Jazz, Blues, and Gospel, Stew Cutler has established himself as a bandleader, with seven record releases to his credit, and countless sessions as a sideman for a diverse group of artists including Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Fontella Bass, David Sanborn, Charlie Hunter, Meatloaf, and Sweet Georgia Brown, to name a few. In 2019 Stew performed the standard “How High the Moon” on the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s film The Irishman. Also in 2019, he was cast as part of the soundtrack for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. In April 2022, Stew released his latest recording, The Blues from Another Angle, which is a critically-acclaimed eclectic mix of originals and covers.

Born in Philadelphia, Don Waller is the second youngest of nine kids; his teenage siblings exposed him to early Rock and Roll, and that started a love affair that has lasted a lifetime. Cutting his teeth on the Philly/Jersey/New York club circuit in the ’70s and ’80s, and a brief stint on Warner Brothers Records in the early ’90s, Don has worked steadily throughout the Northeast for over 50 years. In the wake of the Covid pandemic, he has become an in-demand sideman for Rock, Blues, R&B, and Country acts in the New York City area. Don recently completed his first solo album, Between Here and There, which reflects a number of styles.

Four Great Guitarists is the brainchild of William Jay (BJ), who has wanted to recreate the Chester & Lester jam with guitarist friends of his ever since he first heard the original recordings back in the ’70s. During the past 50 years BJ has provided sound reinforcement and stage management to musical and theatrical acts in the U.S. and East Africa. Since July 2017, BJ has collaborated with The Exchange to present a monthly Listening Room on the last Wednesday of the month in the Exchange Gallery. For more information about the Listening Room, please visit ExchangeArts.org/listening-room. Visit the Exchange Gallery Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Hours may vary from week to week; visit ExchangeArts.org/gallery-hours or give a call before you drop in). For more information about The Exchange, visit ExchangeArts.org and Facebook.com/ExchangeArtsDotOrg or call 570-317-2596.

Susquehanna’s North Branch Named 2023 River of the Year

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News

Press Release from PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources

Harrisburg, PA — The North Branch of the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania has been selected by a public vote as the state’s 2023 River of the Year, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn and Janet Sweeney of the Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways and Rivers (POWR) announced today.

“Through planned River of the Year celebrations, public awareness of the value of the North Branch of the Susquehanna River will be increased and major initiatives along this section of the river will be underscored,” Dunn said. “Economic revitalization of river-town communities will enhance access to the river; increase tourism; and provide additional land and water-based recreational opportunities for local residents and visitors alike.”

Flowing from the New York state line to Sunbury near Shikellamy State Park at the confluence with the Susquehanna River West Branch, the Susquehanna River North Branch meanders through eight Pennsylvania counties, including Susquehanna, Bradford, Wyoming, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, and Northumberland.

A water trail, the Susquehanna River North Branch is widely used by paddlers, anglers, recreational boaters, and wildlife enthusiasts.

Recreationalists enjoy the calm, class-I waters which serve as both a playground for experienced boaters to explore the area’s natural and historic offerings, as well as a learning ground for new paddlers to develop their skills.

In addition to the paddling opportunities, visitors are surrounded by abundant history.

These historic connections earned the water trail a “National Recreation Trail” designation by the National Park Service in 2009 as part of the larger Captain John Smith National Historic Trail system — a recreation trail that celebrates the exchange of goods and cultures between the early, famed explorer of the Chesapeake Bay and the native peoples of the Susquehanna River basin.

The public was invited to vote online for the River of the Year, choosing from among four waterways nominated.

A total of 11,438 votes were cast, with Susquehanna River North Branch receiving 4,098; the Perkiomen Creek 3,110; Conestoga River 2,490; and Schuylkill River 1,740.

“POWR would like to commend everyone for their support for the nominated rivers, especially for the strong showing of support for the Susquehanna River North Branch,” Sweeney said. 

“The River of the Year program continues to engage our communities by providing a wonderful opportunity to showcase all the nominated rivers and the great work being done in Pennsylvania on these resources. We are excited about the opportunity to highlight the Susquehanna River North Branch.”

The Endless Mountains Heritage Region, which nominated the North Branch of the Susquehanna River, will receive a $10,000 Leadership Grant to help fund a slate of year-long 2023 River of the Year activities.

DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways and Rivers will work with the region to create a free, commemorative poster celebrating the North Branch as the 2023 Pennsylvania River of the Year.

“We nominated the North Branch in the hopes of receiving this prestigious designation in conjunction with our organization’s 25th anniversary in 2023 and now that we have it, we couldn’t be more excited,” said Cain Chamberlin, Executive Director of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region.

“We have an array of river paddles and sojourns planned for this year, as well as other outdoor recreation related events that will meld perfectly with our management of the water trail. We’re committed to educating the public about paddling safety and encouraging everyone to be responsible stewards for the Susquehanna and its abundant tributaries.”

Cain thanked the co-manager for the North Branch, the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, for its help in submitting the nomination and promoting the public voting portion of the contest, as well as the many water trail managers along this section of the river.

In cooperation with DCNR, selection of public voting choices was overseen by the Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways and Rivers, an affiliate of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

A commemorative River of the Year sojourn is among many paddling trips supported by DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Waterways and Rivers each year.

An independent program, the Pennsylvania Sojourn Program, is a unique series of a dozen such trips on the state’s rivers.

These water-based journeys for canoeists, kayakers, and others raise awareness of the environmental, recreational, tourism, and heritage values of rivers.

Valentine’s Wine & Chocolate Trail 2023

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News, Wine

𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿! Enjoy a sweet journey through the wineries of Columbia & Montour Counties this Valentine’s season with that special someone, or with your go-to group of friends! From February 10-19, visit seven participating area wineries and enjoy special wine & chocolate features for a chance to win wine-themed prize baskets.

From Friday, February 10th through Sunday, February 19th, trail-goers can travel from winery to winery, tasting delicious seasonal wine features. Along the way, participants will be able to get their tickets stamped at each location. Trail-goers who visit every participating winery will be entered to win one of seven individual winery gift baskets as well as a Grand Prize basket featuring a bottle of wine from each winery.

The wineries participating in the Valentine’s Wine & Chocolate Trail are:
🍷 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗛𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗮𝘁 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗸 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝗽𝘀 – 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗻
Address: 4378 Red Rock Rd, Benton, PA 17814
🍷 𝗥𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗲𝘁𝘁𝘀 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗖𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆
Address: 4360 Red Rock Rd, Benton, PA 17814
🍷 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀 𝗙𝗮𝗿𝗺 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆
Address: 130 Twin Church Road, Berwick, PA 18603
🍷 𝗝𝘂𝗻𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗮 𝗩𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝘆 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗮𝘁 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲’𝘀 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗱𝗼𝗼𝗿𝘀 – 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗻
Address: 357A Camp Lavigne Rd, Benton, PA 17814
🍷 𝗞𝘂𝗹𝗽𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘁 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘁 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗢𝗹’ 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗕𝗮𝗿𝗻 – 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗻
Address: 9 S Comstock Rd, Benton, PA 17814
🍷 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝘆 & 𝗩𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘆𝗮𝗿𝗱 – 𝗥𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲/𝗗𝗮𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘁
Address: 1 D and H Ave, Danville, PA 17821
🍷 𝗧𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝗗𝗼𝗴𝘀 𝗩𝗶𝗻𝗼
Address: 129 Hidlay Church Road, Bloomsburg, PA 17815

Please note that hours vary for each winery. The trail can be completed at any point from February 10-19 during each winery’s open business hours. Please call ahead or visit individual wineries’ websites or social media pages for individual hours of operation. No purchase necessary to win prize baskets; wine trail tickets are free, but please note that wine tastings at each stop may have fees if you choose to indulge.

𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙞𝙩 𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙠𝙨:

1. If you are interested in participating in the Valentine’s Wine & Chocolate Trail, simply proceed to one of the wineries of your choosing during the posted event dates (you may start at whichever one you’d like).
2. Pick up a FREE event ticket at the first winery you visit – all will have tickets available.
3. Fill out 1/2 of the ticket and turn it in at the first winery. Keep the other half to record stamps/signatures.
4. Enjoy your first seasonal wine tasting and have your ticket authorized in the assigned space for that particular winery.
5. Proceed to the rest of the wineries during their normal business hours and enjoy delectable wines + get more stamps/autographs!
6. At your final winery stop, turn in your completed second half of the ticket to be entered to win any of the prize baskets. All participants who complete every stop on the trail will have a chance to win any of the individual winery baskets and the Grand Prize basket regardless of where they turn in their ticket.

𝙁𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙨:

– Kulpmont Winery at Old Country Barn will have homemade chocolates by Dipped; dark, milk, and white chocolates paired with a variety of their wines

– Three Dogs Vino: Wines paired with variety of wrapped chocolates

– Juniata Valley at Nature’s Outdoors: Ghirardelli Chocolate squares paired with several featured wines. New wine “A Perfect Pear” will be included in the Grand Prize basket.

* MORE FEATURES TO BE ANNOUNCED AS TRAIL APPROACHES.

This year’s Grand Prize Basket – it contains seven bottles of wine and other goodies!

Anything Can Happen at BTE’s ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit’

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. – Generally in professional theatre, actors, directors, and production staff spend more than six weeks preparing for a show. BTE’s next show throws all that out the window with White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. Each night will feature a different professional actor being handed a sealed envelope containing the unseen script. From there, anything can happen! The show teeters between comedy and drama, and is not particularly political. Bravely taking the stage will be BTE’s Education Director Abigail Leffler and Resident Acting Company member Elizabeth Dowd, last seen as the narrators in this season’s A Christmas Carol, and Resident Acting Company member Amy Rene Byrne, last seen in The Christians. Leffler will perform on January 12th, Byrne on January 13th, and Dowd on January 14th. The New York run featured actors such as Nathan Lane, Wayne Brady, and F. Murray Abraham.

As each actor is only permitted to perform this show once, this limited engagement is for three nights only, January 12th, 13th, and 14th at 7:30pm! Tickets are $30, with discounted tickets for seniors, young professionals, and students. In celebration of our 45th Season, we are offering two regular tickets for $45, a savings of $15! Patrons can take advantage of this by using code ’45for45′ online, or mentioning it on the phone. Bloomsburg University students are just $9 with a valid BU ID. Call the Box Office at 570-784-8181 or purchase tickets online at www.bte.org.

This show is sponsored by MC Federal Credit Union, Mike and Samantha Capita, Hanna FM, Bigfoot Country, Innotek Computer Consulting, Viamedia, and WNEP. Founded in 1978 as an artist-driven, community-based resident ensemble, BTE creates innovative work with local and national impact. Today, BTE produces a lively mix of classic and contemporary plays and original theatre education programs for all ages. For more information about our shows and programs, please see www.bte.org.

Vote for the Susquehanna as 2023 River of the Year!

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau News

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THE SUSQUEHANNA RIVER NORTH BRANCH!

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn announced the public is invited to again vote online for the 2023 Pennsylvania River of the Year, choosing from among four waterways nominated throughout the state.

The Conestoga River, Perkiomen Creek, Schuylkill River, and Susquehanna River—North Branch are the nominations for the 2023 River of the Year. Nominations were based on each waterway’s conservation needs and successes, as well as celebration plans if the nominee is voted 2023 River of the Year.

Dating back well over 300 million years, the Susquehanna River Water Trail’s North Branch is a waterway rooted in history and unparalleled beauty. Steep forested hills, staggering cliffs, Native American lookout points and sacred sites, remains of historic canals and ferry systems, quaint downtowns, and countless connections to industrial booms like the anthracite coal period of the 1800s are unique reminders of this water trail’s fascinating past and unrivaled magnificence.

Courtesy of Susquehanna Greenway Partnership

Flowing from the New York State line to Sunbury, PA near Shikellamy State Park at the confluence with the Susquehanna River’s West Branch, the North Branch meanders through eight Pennsylvania counties including Susquehanna, Bradford, Wyoming, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Montour, and Northumberland. Co-managed by the Endless Mountains Heritage Region and the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, this water trail is widely used by paddlers, anglers, recreational boaters, and wildlife enthusiasts. Recreationalists enjoy the calm, class-I waters which serve as both a playground for experienced boaters to explore the area’s natural and historic offerings, as well as a learning ground for new and novice paddlers to develop their skills. In addition to the paddling opportunities along the waterway, visitors are surrounded by abundant history. These historic connections earned the water trail a “National Recreation Trail” designation by the National Park Service in 2009 as part of the larger Captain John Smith Historic Trail system; a recreation trail that celebrates the exchange of goods and cultures between the early, famed explorer of the Chesapeake Bay and the native peoples of the Susquehanna River basin.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR THE SUSQUEHANNA RIVER NORTH BRANCH!

Following An Artistic Dream: Dyelute

Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau Art, News

by Nancy Bishop

Like most people just graduating from college, Jordan Franklin needed to find a job in 2013 to pay the bills.

So, he went to work remodeling stores for a large national chain. It was good work. He got to travel, and he made money.

But his first passion was art. After all, his bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh was in Video Game Art and Design. As a kid, he loved art and gaming. And he was a big fan of the late Frank Frazetta, often called the “Godfather of fantasy art,” who lived for a time in East Stroudsburg where there’s a museum of his work.

Along about 2020, Franklin started to take the art that had become just a hobby to do after his work hours more seriously. He realized that he wasn’t happy. So, he decided to do what he really wanted to do. In 2021 he moved back to Berwick where he had spent his early years before moving to Lock Haven and graduating from high school there.

And the art business he named Dyelute, was born.

Dyelute, which is a play on the words dye (a type of paint) and dilute (to thin out), is not your typical art. Franklin’s focus is on concept art and fantasy art.

What is that exactly? Concept art shows visually an idea that can be used in films, video games, animation, comic books or other media before it’s developed into the final product. And fantasy art brings to life supernatural themes, ideas, creatures or settings.

Dyelute creator Jordan Franklin sharing some of his work sketches with me.

“It’s not the conventional art that people go to see,” Franklin told me when I visited his Berwick studio recently. “People want to see art they can hang on the wall. I’m creating original work out of my own imagination.

“I whole-heartedly enjoy making ideas into fleshed out creations and seeing the immaterial become reality.”

Franklin does commission work for people who have a specific project in mind. He also has several projects of his own currently in work, including a coloring book and a pirate game. He showed me concept art that depicted what enemy characters might look like in the game.

He’s already published one game, “Not A Knight”, that has gamers “…rise from nothing and become the knight you’re meant to be!” Working their way through the game lets the player “…sneak past enemy guards, master archery, show off blacksmithing skill and gain riches.”

A Capture of the Instruction Screen from “Not A Knight”
One of Jordan’s pieces that I brought home with me!

One of the characters on Dyelute’s website caught my eye. Called “DragonBorn Paladin,” Franklin says he created it as a way to develop a character design for a “Dungeons and Dragons” idea. He wanted to work through developing the look, feel, and equipment that this character would use. My oldest grandson is a big Dungeons and Dragons gamer who plays every Saturday with a group of his friends, and I knew he would love it.

As Franklin showed me around his studio and the projects he’s working on, we talked about his commission work for clients. That takes precedence over his own projects, he told me, adding that he’s trying to develop that business.

Artwork for the Adventures of Atlas

Of course, that immediately made me think of another teenage grandson who collects “duck stuff” as he calls it and has a birthday in January. What could make a better gift for a doting grandmother to give than a piece of original artwork to hang in his room? Hope he likes what Franklin comes up with!

An early sketch of Franklin’s progress on my commissioned “Duckman” piece!

Have a project you’d like to see him do? Go to dyelute.com and send him an email.