2023 Covered Bridge Puzzles Have Arrived!

The Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau is excited to announce the arrival of its thirteenth annual Covered Bridge puzzle. The newest limited-edition puzzle showcases the Jud Christian Bridge in Columbia County. They are 550 pieces and were manufactured by Heritage Puzzle out of North Carolina. Limited quantities are currently available for the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. Puzzles are sold for $18, tax included. A $2 donation from every puzzle sold will be made by the Bureau to the Columbia County Covered Bridge Association. They make a fantastic Christmas present idea for family or friends!

Puzzles may be purchased in person at the Visitors Bureau Welcome Center, located at 121 Papermill Road in Bloomsburg during normal business hours (Monday – Friday; 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM). Puzzles are also available to be shipped anywhere in the continental United States for an additional shipping charge. Mail orders may be placed by calling the Welcome Center at 570-784-8279.

This year’s puzzle photo was taken by Mark Koskulitz, who was honored earlier this year as the 2023 Covered Bridge photo contest winner. The Jud Christian Covered Bridge was built in 1876 by William L. Manning at a cost of $239. It is located five miles northeast of Millville and Iola on Ardens Hill Road, off Sereno Hollow Road. It spans Little Fishing Creek between Jackson and Pine Townships, in Columbia County. This Queen Post truss bridge is 53 feet long and in near-perfect condition. The bridge is still open to vehicular thru-traffic. It was named after a farmer and lumberman, Jud Christian, who lived nearby. The farm’s old mill still stands a short distance from the bridge on private property.

If not already sold out, the 2023 Jud Christian puzzle can also be purchased at this year’s 41st Annual Covered Bridge & Arts Festival, held this coming October 5-8 at the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds.

There’s Still Time to Hit the Brew Trail!

by Nancy Bishop

Grab your Passport and hit the trail…the River Rat Brew Trail that is. You still have until Oct. 31 to visit the excellent craft breweries in this area and earn rewards!

It’s been a busy summer for me, with my U.S. passport getting stamped in Italy and Ireland, so by the time things slowed down, it definitely was time to hit the River Rat Brew Trail to get that passport stamped. And believe me, it’s worth visiting the RRBT brewers – their beers outshine anything my family and I had during our overseas trip. Even my beer trail friend who has visited Dublin and been to the Guinness Factory enjoyed the Lightstreet Porter at Turkey Hill Brewing, saying “I love it!”

First up on my passport run this time was Marzoni’s in Selinsgrove. On that late August day, my beer trail companion Roger followed the recommendations of Kaile, the bartender, for the four beers in his beer flight. She suggested their Locke Mountain Lager, Patchway Pale Ale, Avalanche IPA and Stone Mason Stout. His favorite seemed to be the Avalanche IPA, which Kaile told us was one of their most popular IPAs. It was lunchtime, so we also had to sample their delicious food. A pizza lover, Roger – of course – chose their “Butcher” pizza, described on the menu as a meatlover’s dream.

My companion Roger’s flight of beers from Marzoni’s
Roger, king of the bar!

When my usual RRBT traveling companions Sally, Joanne and Maryann heard I had taken Roger to visit Marzoni’s, they wanted to know when we were going to go back on the Trail. So we headed out. First up was Old Forge Brewing Company on Mill Street in Danville. Wanting to pace themselves since we planned to make other stops after Old Forge, they decided to share the beer flight: 5-ounce glasses of eight different Old Forge brews that were on tap that day.

Their choices were Rauchbier, Hopstash IPA, Endless Sun Ale, Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing, T-Rail Pale Ale, Overbite IPA, Blood Orange Gose, Eternal Hoppiness. After tasting them all, Sally and Joanne liked the T-Rail Pale best while Maryann, who likes darker more full-bodied beer, said her favorite was the Rauchbier, which is described on the menu as “a traditional German smoked Lager with assertive smoke aroma.”

Living up to its name, they all found the Endless Sun Ale to be light and refreshing. “This would be nice sitting around the pool in the summer,” was their verdict.

For a snack to soak up the beer, they chose the soft pretzel from the appetizer list and loved the beer cheese to dip it in. With a nod to healthy, we also had the hummus platter from the appetizer menu. The house-made hummus was delicious!

Next stop, located nearby on Rooney Avenue, the next street over from Mill Street in Danville, was Rock God Brewing Company. From their beer list, my companions chose Horse with No Name Horseradish Ale, Stonehenge Festbier Oktoberfest, Superbeeroes Hazy IPA, Bohemian Rhapsody, Everlong IPA and Foxy Lady American Porter.

All three of them were intrigued by Horse with No Name, saying “You can taste the horseradish, but it’s light – not too heavy a horseradish taste. “ But their favorite was the Foxy Lady American Porter, described on the beer list as “dark and roasty with just enough bitterness to balance out the sweetness.” Coming in as a close second on their favorites list was Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s a golden Belgian strong ale that’s aged in a rye whiskey barrel, giving it a mild whiskey flavor.

From there we headed over to Bloomsburg to Turkey Hill Brewing Company. There Maryann chose the Lightstreet Porter that she loved. She liked that you could taste the chocolate in it. It’s described on the menu as “an English-style porter with chocolate malt and a smooth creamy body.” The others switched to the Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay that was on Turkey Hill’s wine list since it was now dinnertime and they were having the Wild for Salmon Wrap while Maryann chose the Ham & Cheese Quesadilla – Ham, Swiss, diced pickle and spicy house mustard in a crispy flour tortilla.

Hungry and thirsty now? Then it’s time to order your River Rat Brew Trail Passport and get out there to enjoy. We certainly had a great time!

Weis Center Announces 2023-24 Season

The 2023-24 season at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts includes 25 professional performances – including world music, classical, Americana and roots music, modern dance, jazz, soul, and so much more. All performances take place at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Tickets go on sale to the public on August 24 at 10 am by calling 570-577-1000, online at Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice or in-person weekdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Campus Box Office’s location in the Weis Center Atrium.

As always, season subscribers of five or more performances receive 20 percent off ticket purchases. Subscription orders will be given priority until Tuesday, August 22 at 10 a.m.

The fall season will kick off on Thursday, September 7 at 6 p.m. with a free concert by DC-based brass ensemble, DuPont Brass, outside on the Weis Center Plaza. This lively nine-piece ensemble consists of brass, a rhythm section and vocalists. The event is co-presented with Bucknell Basketball; patrons are encouraged to come early for free family-friendly events from 5-6 pm. Pre-concert activities will include: hoops on the Plaza – come play basketball with the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams, Meet the Teams: Autograph Signings, pics with Bucky the Bison, Bison Girls Dance Team showcase performance, Bucknell Cheerleaders appearance, cornhole, raffles and prizes. Bucknell’s food truck The Flying Bison will also be parked on-site from 5-7 pm with snacks, drinks, and dinner offerings for a fee.

On Thursday, September 14 we will welcome the Martha Graham Dance Company, which has been a leader in modern dance since its founding in 1926. It is both the oldest dance company in the U.S. and the oldest integrated dance company. Today, the company is embracing a new programming vision that showcases masterpieces by Graham alongside newly commissioned works by contemporary artists.

On Friday, September 29, Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway will bring roots music to the Weis Center stage. Molly Tuttle is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter with a lifelong love of bluegrass. On her new album, Crooked Tree, Tuttle joyfully explores her family’s rich history with bluegrass, resulting in a record that is both forward-thinking and steeped in bluegrass heritage.

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway

On Thursday, October 12, jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen takes the stage with his Trio. Emmet is the winner of the 2019 American Pianists Awards and was a finalist in the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. Cohen headlines regularly at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Village Vanguard and Birdland.

Gospel powerhouse ensemble, The Legendary Ingramettes, will perform on Thursday, October 19. The African-American gospel quintet was founded six decades ago as a way to keep a family together through hardship. The Legendary Ingramettes bring roof-raising harmonies and explosively powerful vocals, all driven by the voices of women. 

On Friday, October 27, the Dublin Guitar Quartet performs new music on classical guitars. The quartet has worked to expand the limited repertoire by commissioning new works and adapting modern masterpieces from outside of the guitar repertoire. With the help of eight- and eleven-string guitars, the quartet has created an original catalog of arrangements by composers such as Philip Glass, Rachel Grimes, Arvo Pärt and many more.

On Wednesday, November 1, violinist, vocalist and composer Terry Jenoure performs with powerhouse pianist Angelica Sanchez in a new project called Secret to Life in the Weis Center Atrium. The project shines the spotlight on women’s accounts, ones that were once held in secret.

Then on Friday, November 3, world music from Cadiz, Spain comes to Central Pennsylvania. La Banda Morisca blends roots and traditional music of Andalusia, the Maghreb and the Middle East. The group has developed a creative and unique repertoire that combines the traditions of the eastern and western Mediterranean with the spirit of flamenco and Andalusian rock.

Classical music by The Danish String Quartet will be featured on Sunday, November 5 at 4 pm. The Grammy-nominated quartet is known for impeccable musicianship, sophisticated artistry, and an unmatched ability to play as one. They exude a palpable joy in music making and will present an intriguing program that includes Mozart, Britten, and a selection of Scandinavian folk music.

The contemporary dance company BODYTRAFFIC takes the stage on Thursday, November 9. BODYTRAFFIC uses the creative spirit of its Los Angeles home to fulfill its mission of delivering performances that inspire audiences to simply love dance. The company is composed of artists who received their training at some of the finest schools throughout the world. The Los Angeles Times described BODYTRAFFIC as “one of the most talked about companies—not just in LA, but nationwide.”

BODYTRAFFIC

Bucknell Music Department’s Gallery Series presents a free performance by singer-songwriter Alissa Moreno on Friday, Nov. 10 in the Weis Center Atrium. After moving to Los Angeles, she co-wrote the Grammy-nominated hit “Every Day” for Rascal Flatts. Her music is featured in television and film with numerous songs licensed to shows like The Vineyard, The Hills, Laguna Beach, How I Met Your Mother, Guiding Light, Will and Grace, Criminal Minds, among others.

Then on Tuesday, November 14, Okaidja Afroso returns to the Weis Center with a new project, Jaku Mumor – Ancestral Spirit. Born into a family of musicians and storytellers on the west coast of Ghana, Afroso is a singer, guitarist, percussionist and dancer deeply connected to the musical traditions of the African Diaspora. His new project combines percussion, guitar, dance and native language vocals.

Finally, the fall season ends with world music from Mariachi Herencia de Mexico on Thursday, November 30. The energetic, Latin Grammy-nominated group has issued chart-topping albums and performed across the North American continent. This performance will include both traditional mariachi music and holiday favorites.

The spring 2024 season kicks off on Tuesday, January 30 with a family-friendly performance of Hamid Rahmanian’s Song of the North, a large-scale, cinematic performance combining the manual art of shadow puppetry with projected animation to tell the courageous tale of Manijeh, a heroine from ancient Persia, who must use all her strengths and talents to rescue her beloved from a perilous predicament and help prevent a war. This epic love story employs a cast of 500 handmade puppets and a talented ensemble of nine actors and puppeteers.

Song of the North

Ballet Hispanico returns to the Weis Center on Tuesday, February 6. Ballet Hispánico is the largest Latine/Latinx/Hispanic cultural organization in the U.S. and one of America’s cultural treasures. They will present a mixed repertoire of three pieces.

Kyshona, an artist who blends roots, rock, rhythm and blues and folk, will perform on Thursday, February 8. Her release, Listen, was voted Best Protest Album of 2020 by Nashville Scene. Kyshona’s nonprofit organization, Your Song, offers songwriting programs for youth empowerment programs, detention, re-entry, recovery, mental health and veterans centers and organizations.

Jontavious Willis is an up-and-coming blues artist who will perform on Wednesday, February 14. His style of playing and his voice touches the very roots of country blues, bringing back the true soul of the music. A newspaper headline once called him a “70-year-old Bluesman in a 20-year-old Body.” Hailing from Greenville, Ga. He got his much-needed break from the living legend Taj Mahal in 2015, when Mahal asked Willis to play on stage with him. That appearance resulted in a roaring response from the audience and led Willis to bigger stages and broader opportunities, including an opening slot at select shows along the TajMo tour, featuring his musical mentors Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’.

The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine will perform on Friday, February 23 under the chief conductor Volodymyr Sirenko. Pianist Volodymyr Vynnytsky will be featured. Formed by the Council of Ministers of Ukraine in November 1918, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine is considered to be one of the finest symphony orchestras in Eastern Europe.

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine

Then on March 1, tenThing returns to the Weis Center. Formed in 2007 by Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth as a fun and exciting collaboration among musical friends, the 10-piece, all-female brass ensemble has firmly established itself on the international scene to great acclaim. tenThing is celebrated for its commitment to outreach and access to music through a diverse repertoire, from Mozart to Weill, Grieg to Bernstein and Lully to Bartók.

tenThing

The Martha Redbone Roots Project comes to the Weis Center on Tuesday, March 5. Martha Redbone is a Native American and African American vocalist/songwriter/composer/educator. She is known for her unique gumbo of folk, blues and gospel from her childhood in Harlan County, Kentucky, that is infused with the eclectic grit of pre-gentrified Brooklyn. Inheriting the powerful vocal range of her gospel-singing African American father and the resilient spirit of her mother’s Southeastern Cherokee/Choctaw culture, Redbone broadens the boundaries of American roots music. With songs and storytelling that share her life experience as a Native and Black woman and mother in the new millennium, she gives voice to issues of social justice, bridging traditions from past to present, connecting cultures and celebrating the human spirit.

Traditional Irish music will be performed on Friday, March 22. Described by the BBC as “an icon of Irish music,” the band has played at festivals from Rock in Rio, Brazil, to Glastonbury, England, toured with the Irish president and struck up tunes on the Great Wall of China. Dervish has a lineup that includes some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, fronted by one of the country’s best-known singers Cathy Jordan. Dervish has been long-established as one of the biggest names in Irish music internationally.

Bill and the Belles returns to the Weis Center on Thursday, April 4. Happy Again isn’t exactly happy, but the delightfully deadpan new album from roots mainstays Bill and the Belles is full of life, humor and tongue-in-cheek explorations of love and loss. This album marks a new chapter for the group by featuring 11 all-original songs penned by founding member Kris Truelsen. There’s no dancing around it: this album is about his divorce. But the group has a knack for saying sad things with an ironic smirk, pairing painful topics with a sense of release and relief. Anyone who’s been to one of their shows can attest that you leave feeling lighter and refreshed.

Rising star of the cello Jonathan Swensen performs on Sunday, April 7 at 2 pm. Swensen is the recipient of the 2022 Avery Fisher Career Grant and was featured as both Musical America’s New Artist of the Month and One to Watch in Gramophone magazine. Swensen captured first prizes at the 2019 Windsor Festival International String Competition, 2018 Khachaturian International Cello Competition and the 2018 Young Concert Artists international auditions in 2018.

Jonathan Swenson

Then, the U.S. Army Field Band/Jazz Ambassadors take the stage on Friday, April 12 in a free performance. Known as America’s Big Band, the Jazz Ambassadors are the premier touring jazz orchestra of the U.S. Army. Formed in 1969, this 19-piece ensemble has received critical acclaim throughout the U.S. and abroad performing America’s original art form, jazz. Performances by the Jazz Ambassadors offer some of the most versatile programming of any big band. Concerts include classic big band standards, instrumental and vocal solo features, patriotic favorites, contemporary jazz works and original arrangements and compositions by past and present members of the Jazz Ambassadors.

Finally, the season ends with Caña Dulce Caña Brava on Thursday, April 18. Caña Dulce Caña Brava offers a performance that shows off the music, poetry, dance and traditional attire of Veracruz, Mexico, interpreted by artists who are beneficiaries of the jarocho culture and noteworthy performers with years of experience on both national and international stages. The group stands out as an artistic project that highlights feminine poetry and voices. Creating an experience that connects the spectator with distinct emotions, one is taken on a voyage through multiple rhythms, accompanied by traditional string instruments, such as the harp and the jarana, percussion and zapateado (percussive dance), poetic improvisation in rhyme and visual effects.

Season Brochure

The season brochure is now available as an eco-friendly, downloadable and printable PDF at Bucknell.edu/WeisCenter.

A limited number of hardcopies are available upon request. To request a hardcopy brochure, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or e-mail Lisa.Leighton@bucknell.edu and one will be mailed at no cost.

Hardcopies are also available at the Weis Center and will soon be available throughout the Susquehanna River Valley region including the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau, Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau, local Chambers of Commerce and all local libraries.

Sponsors

The Weis Center’s 2023-24 season is supported by the following season-level sponsors: Bucknell Sports Properties, The Daily Item, Seven Mountains Media, Sunbury Broadcasting Corporation and WVIA.

Event sponsors include Backyard Broadcasting, Bucknell Music Department Gallery Series, Martha and Alan Barrick, Centre Daily Times, Class of 1953 Fund, Coldwell Banker Penn One Real Estate, Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau, Nancy and Sam Craig, Evangelical Community Hospital, Geisinger, Jazz at Bucknell, Clayton and David Lightman, Teri MacBride and Steve Guattery, The News Item, PPL Foundation, Press Enterprise, Asbury Riverwoods, Adriana Rojas and family in memory of Andrew, Service 1st Federal Credit Union, Gary and Sandy Sojka, Standard Journal, Stone State Entertainment, ViaMedia, Williamsport Sun Gazette, Karl Voss and Chanin Wendling family, PAHomepage/WBRE/WYOU, WNEP and WVIA.

Grant funding for the season includes Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Western Arts Alliance Advancing Indigenous Performance (AIP) Touring Fund and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

TICKETS

Tickets go on sale to the public on Thursday, August 24 at 10 am.

  • Weis Center Atrium

Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

  • Elaine Langone Center, Campus Activities & Programs Center

Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

The Campus Box Office opens one hour prior to performances at the performance location.

570-577-1000 or Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to Bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or search for the Weis Center on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Bloomsburg’s ArtFest Returns August 19th

Dedicated to bringing the arts to all communities throughout our region, The Exchange again presents Columbia County’s biggest one-day outdoor art-and-music event of the year.

We have moved ArtFest to the other side of Main Street – just as lovely and shady, but with more room!  Bigger than ever before, the fifteenth annual ArtFest will take place on Saturday, the 19th of August, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in its convenient, attractive, and slightly adjusted location on the Square in downtown Bloomsburg, now surrounding the monument and down Market Street.  ArtFest will showcase more than 50 artists’ original work, accompanied by seven hours of live music, local and regional food vendors, and fun and educational activities for people of all ages.  A summertime art party, ArtFest draws attendees from throughout our region, and it draws artists from across Pennsylvania.  As always, the event takes place rain or shine and has no admission fee – free to all!

The exhibitors who will display and sell include painters, photographers, potters, jewelers, sculptors, fabric artists, woodworkers, skincare experts, bonsai growers, and more.  Eleven non-profit organizations will also have booths: The Exchange’s Art Cart will provide a hands-on activity for kids of all ages, using simple materials – many of them recycled – to help bring out the beauty inside each person, and the Fishing Creek Watershed Association will host its annual container-garden contest.  Other non-profits greeting visitors will include the Bloomsburg Public Library, the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum, Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, Columbia-Montour Action Together, the River Poets, The Women’s Center, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Cats in Bloom, and the Columbia County Historical and Genealogical Society.  Local and regional musicians who will perform throughout the day include Raven Creek Bluegrass, Kat Holdren, Prairie Dogma, and the Kerry Kenny Band.  In addition, attendees will find great food from local and regional vendors – Project Pizza Company, The Gingham Table, Fourth Taco, Heier’s Home Cooking, Dida’s Incredible Edibles, and more.

In its open, friendly, and highly-visible location, ArtFest attracts thousands of attendees, among them Bloomsburg University students and their parents in town on the last move-in weekend before the semester starts.  Downtown Bloomsburg has plenty of parking; meters require payment from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and in addition to coins one can now also pay through the PANGO app: To sign up, go to mypango.com.

Downtown Blooomsburg, Inc. (DBI), the non-profit organization devoted to the betterment of Bloomsburg’s downtown commercial district, founded ArtFest in 2009; The Exchange, the non-profit that operates a Main Street Gallery and produces music events, has produced ArtFest since 2016; and the Town of Bloomsburg has provided the venue and support services each year.  DBI and The Exchange thank the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau for their support of ArtFest; the event also receives support from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

For more information about Downtown Bloomsburg, visit DowntownBloomsburg.org.

For more information about The Exchange and ArtFest, visit ExchangeArts.org and Facebook.com/BloomsburgArtFest or call 570-317-2596.

First Columbia Bank & Trust Photo Contest Returns

Berwick, PAFirst Columbia Bank & Trust Co. will host their second annual Photography Competition on Sunday, October 15th, 2023 at the Berwick First Presbyterian Church, 320 Market St., Berwick, PA. The Bank is a proud supporter of local artists and art programs within the local community and looks forward to spotlighting these talented individuals at the competition.

The contest features local photographers who reside or study within a 50 mile radius of any First Columbia Bank location. The competition is free to enter. Both amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to participate along with students enrolled at local universities. Participants under the age of 18 will require a parental consent form. Entry packets can be picked up at any First Columbia Bank location beginning on August 1st, 2023 or downloaded at https://www.firstcolumbiabank.com/contest-rules to be dropped off at any branch location. The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 29th, 2023.

Categories are as follows: Animals/ Wildlife, Flowers, Close Up/Macro, Nature/Landscape and Black & White. Photographers may enter a maximum of three (3) photographs per category to be judged. Photographs must be the original work of the photographer and captured within the last 3 years. Employees of First Columbia Bank & Trust Co. and any family members living in their household are not eligible. Digital image submissions and questions regarding the competition should be e-mailed to photos@firstcolumbiabank.com.

AWARDS

The following awards will be presented at 5:00 PM on Sunday, October 15th, 2023:

  • Overall Best in Show: $125
  • First Place in each category: $100
  • Second Place in each category: $50
  • Third Place in each category: $25
  • Honorable Mention: Ribbon Only

People’s Choice: Ribbon Only

Four Children’s Museums Partner on Summer Passport Program

The Bloomsburg Children’s Museum has partnered with Lykens Valley Children’s Museum, Lewisburg Children’s Museum, and the Discovery Center for the Heart of PA Children’s Museum summer passport program.

Visit all four Heart of PA Children’s Museums this summer and be entered into a prize drawing!

Visit each museum before August 31st, 2023, and receive a stamp on your card. Once you collect all the stamps, leave your card at the last museum you visited. Prizes will be drawn on September 8th.

“We love teaming up with like-minded organizations, so when the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum reached out to us about their passport idea, we just loved the idea. Summer is the perfect time to kick-off a family passport program and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it. This passport will encourage families from outside of our community to come explore the  Lykens Valley Children’s Museum (LVCM) and other local businesses. Families will come and see what we have to offer, not just for summer, but all year round. This is a win-win for our community, museum and our local businesses. We are always looking for ways to serve our community better and the children’s museum summer passport was an easy choice,” said Lisa Ditty,  Director, Lykens Valley Children’s Museum

Passport cards can be picked up at any participating Children’s Museum, the Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau or the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau.

“All of these children’s museums are wonderful tourist destinations for our region. We hope that this program encourages families to take road trips this summer and visit all of them to see the amazing things each one has to offer,” said Dr. Ginny Weibel, Director Bloomsburg Children’s Museum.

Briggs Farm Blues Festival Just Around the Corner!

The 2023 Briggs Farm Blues Festival is just around the corner! Music-lovers from far and wide are packing their coolers, getting ready for world-class music, and planning time well spent with friends and family!

“The Best Weekend of the Year” is happening July 6th, 7th, and 8th on the rolling hills of Briggs Farm in Briggsville, Pa. And while Briggs Farm Blues Festival has grown into the largest blues festival in Pennsylvania, its down-home feel remains. Everyone is friends at Briggs Farm. Two stages with over 20 international and regional acts will ignite the calm country air for a weekend of grass underfoot, campfires, and celebrating the long balmy nights of summer together.

Bringing world-class music to the region has kept the heart of Briggs Farm Blues Festival beating into its 26th year. Briggs Fest founder and president Richard Briggs states, “I grew up in the era of The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, those sounds stem directly from the blues, it’s America’s unique music.” And Briggs Farm has turned into a unique festival with strong musical lineups and a dedicated crowd that keeps coming back to hear a mix of old and new styles of ever evolving blues music. Briggs Farm Blues Festival continues to be the summer’s premier festival destination for people up and down the east coast and beyond.

Two stages rock throughout the festival. The Main Stage Lineup follows:

The headliner for Saturday, July 8th is Robert Randolph, a true rock star and a virtuosos on the pedal steel guitar. When Randolph jumped from the church and spiritual music into the secular music world, he found an audience among blues fans. Rolling Stone included him in their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Bywater Call is a 7-piece powerhouse of southern soul and roots rock. Raw emotion, strong musicianship, and the intention to create a moving experience for listeners remains the driving force behind this bands passion and unforgettable stage presence. Eddie 9V is a blues-soul firebrand, full of electricity and scorching energy. He’s known for his proud allegiance to back-to-basics-blues as he evokes Memphis soul that manages to sound both lovingly vintage and positively modern.

Jackie Venson is a guitar revolution. Her iconoclastic style blends synthpop, electronic prog, rock, jazz, and blues. Jackie Venson lights the future of blues music in a modern style that recalls decades, if not centuries, of the past. She’s a hard-to-explain phenomenon of pure cosmic energy.

The headliner for Friday, July 7th is none other than Victor Wainwright & The Train. Anyone who loves a show packed full of honky-tonk and boogie with a healthy dose of rolling thunder will love this high energy performance!

Joanna Connor, one of the most influential guitarists on the planet, is aggressive, edgy, and innovative. See blues rock take on many forms under her expert guidance and incomparable control (and lack of it).

Super Chikan comes straight out of Clarksdale, Mississippi to deliver Delta Blues in all its grand tradition and glory. Steeped in the culture of blues history, his family lineage makes him music royalty. Super Chikan says it best, “I don’t sing the blues, I am the blues.”

RL Boyce is a master of Mississippi Hill Country Blues. He has 50 years of playing, singing, and living the blues under his cap. He’s known far and wide as “King of Hill Country Boogie.” RL Boyce’s style is effortless and transcendent. He’s a living legend.

While the Main Stage is rockin’, the intimate Back Porch Stage burns along side it with international and regional talent. The Back Porch Lineup follows:

Friday July 7th: Brandon Santini, Justin Mazer, Craig Thatcher and Nyke Van Wyk, New Moon Acoustic Blues, Uptown Music Collective.

Saturday July 8th: Ghalia Volt, R.L Boyce, Benny Turner, Old Man Mojo.

Thursday, July 6th, kicks the festival off with a “pre-party” from the intimate Back Porch Stage. It’s a great way to break into the easy summer mood of a world-class music festival. Thursdays music begins at 6pm and kicks off with Doug McMinn, a local favorite who plays the gamut from Chicago to Texas blues to New Orleans and more. Next up is the Clarence Spady Band. Clarence Spady is a musical giant here in NEPA, everyone who sees him becomes a die hard fan of his sophisticated style. The headliner for Thursday is the wild and unpredictable Scott Pemberton. A repeat offender at Briggs Farm, Scott Pemberton’s unorthodox approach to the guitar creates an utterly unique and powerful experience that harkens back to the days of 90’s grunge rock, progressive funk and deep blues delivered improv style. Every show is an entirely new experience.

Clarence Spady

Briggs Farm Blues Festival is just a few miles off Interstate 80 and 30 minutes from Wilkes Barre and 25 minutes Bloomsburg. On-site camping, a sprawling vendor marketplace, a variety of delicious food, and beer sales from Berwick Brewing round out this unique destination. Patrons can bring in their own beverages (no glass bottles), coolers, and snacks. Free Parking, kids 12 and under are free. Tickets for the event are on sale now and are available at the gate day-of-show. More information and ticket purchasing options can be found at briggsfarm.com. For more information, call: 570-379-3342.

Last Chance to Get Your Beeroes Collaboration!

by Nancy Bishop

Well, it was time to hit the trail again. My beer loving companions have been anxious to try Super Beeroes ever since they first heard about this year’s River Rat Brew Trail special brew.

And according to them, it was well worth the trip. They pronounced Super Beeroes, the special brew that nine of the 15 breweries on the River Rat Brew trail collaborated to make in April led by Rusty Rail Head Brewer Logan Powell, “excellent.” Collaborators were Lost MineD, Rusty Rail, Rock God, Eclipse, Jackass, Hidden Stories, Covered Bridge, Old Forge and Marley’s.

The brew is a hazy pale ale made of white wheat, flaked oats, Hornindal Kveik yeast, Pale 2Row malt and Citra and Cascade hops. But Powell told us when we stopped at Rusty Rail that it’s been very popular since it was released in late May and supplies are limited. You need to get out there now if you’re going to get some before it’s gone.

Joanne liked the citrusy flavor. She said the citrus was a “prominent flavor, but not overbearing.” Both she and Sally, my other brew trail companion, were very happy to go home with cans of Super Beeroes.

Stuffed after lunch from Rusty Rail’s tasty menu – chicken salad sandwiches for Sally and me, a Caprese salad in a spinach wrap with a side of Rusty Rail’s delicious potato salad for Joanne — we headed to Jackass Brewery, to earn a second stamp on the River Rat Brew Trail passport.

Lunch was delicious!

Wanting something to compare the Super Beeroes to, Joanne chose a citrus-flavored IPA that was on the Jackass list that day. While she said it had a “light, refreshing citrus flavor,” she quickly added that she liked Super Beeroes better. Sally decided to try one of the Jackass hard seltzers – strawberry lemonade – which she found very refreshing after sharing an order of Jackass’ housemade potato chips, which had a nice spicy kick.

And you still have time to hit the last one of the special Happy Hours that are being held at the breweries, Wednesday, June 21 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Rock God Brewing Company in Danville. There will be $5 drafts and a pool tournament, along with a variety of prize giveaways including a code for a free trail passport. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day and enjoy some delicious local brews.

But before you go, get your passport for the 2023 River Rat Brew Trail, which features 15 breweries in five counties and runs through Oct. 31. If you have the passport and visit all 15 breweries, you’ll earn prizes once you finish.

What are you waiting for? The Super Beeroes brew won’t be around forever!

Are You a Super Beero? New Collaboration Brew Revealed

by Nancy Bishop

It didn’t take long for my beer trail traveling companions to call and ask when we were going to hit the Trail after they heard about this year’s Super Beeroes theme.

But it was only early March. I reassured them that I wouldn’t forget my loyal beer friends when it came time to visit the breweries on the River Rat Brew Trail, but I didn’t tell them that there’s a special beer being brewed that will be offered at the breweries this year.

And I certainly didn’t tell them that I was about to attend a meeting in late March at Jackass Brewing Company where the nine breweries collaborating on the special brew would develop the recipe for it. Or the brewing day in April at Rusty Rail Brewing Company that I’d also be at.

But the word is out now and the Super Beeroes brew is fermenting in the tanks at Rusty Rail, so I can tell my friends and you about it.

At the first meeting, owners and brewers from Lost Mine-d, Rusty Rail, Rock God, Eclipse, Jackass, Hidden Stories and Covered Bridge, led by Rusty Rail Head Brewer Logan Powell, talked in detail about the kind of yeast, malt, hops and grains – and the amount of each — that would go into the brew. Also participating in the collaboration are Old Forge and Marley’s.

Brewers discuss plans for the new brew at Jackass Brewing Company in March.

The group was lively and enjoying each other’s company, but most of the conversation was over my head, I must admit. I would have been more at home talking about the ingredients in a recipe for my homemade brownies that people tell me are the “best-ever”!

By the end of the meeting (and in time for a delicious lunch at Jackass), the group had decided the special Super Beeroes brew would be a hazy pale ale made of white wheat, flaked oats, Hornindal Kveik yeast, Pale 2Row malt and Citra and Cascade hops.

Citra hops I learned are the new “darling” of hops for craft beers. Developed in 2008, Citra, as its name implies, gives a citrusy flavor hinting of grapefruit and tropical fruits.

In mid-April it was time to put it all together at Rusty Rail. The process began at 7 a.m. when the first batch of mash was mixed up in one of their huge vats. Mash, I learned, is the process of soaking the grains in hot water to hydrate them, convert the starches in the grain to fermentable sugars, and activate the malt. Once the right temperature was reached, brewer Will Warick of Rusty Rail, with folks from the other breweries in the collaboration taking turns helping, moved the liquid, called “Wort,” into another tank where a process of spinning the wort called lautering or sparging took place.

Larry Winans, Co-Owner of Jackass Brewing Company, shovels grain mash.

Then it was time to shovel the spent mash out of the first tank to get it cleaned and ready for the next batch. The spent mash I learned goes to local farmers to use as cattle feed. Some of it also goes to make dog treats. So, it’s an environmentally friendly recycling process!

After about 2 hours, the wort was ready to go to the fermenting tank where the yeast would be added. Before that happened, I got a chance to taste the wort. It was citrusy and a little sweet. Can’t wait to taste the finished product when it’s finished in mid-May. It will be available to purchase at the breweries in the collaboration, either on draft or in a six-pack to take home.

Don’t miss out this year! Get a Super Beeroes Trail Passport and start visiting. I have mine! The 2023 River Rat Brew Trail features 15 breweries in five counties and runs through October 31. There will be prizes to be claimed after you hit all 15 breweries.

And be sure to check out the “What Kind of a River Rat Are You” page when you visit the website. Bet you can’t guess what River Rat I am! (Hint: Think “words on a page.”)

River Rat Brew Trail Passports On Sale April 7

The River Rat Brew Trail Passport is back for another round! This year, transcend beyond the average craft beer drinker and become a “Superbeero” craft brew aficionado. With the most participating breweries EVER, this year’s trail is a can’t miss event! The 2023 trail features fifteen super brewers across five counties, and will run from April 7 through October 31. As you tour each location along the Trail, be sure to check-in using your digital passport to verify your visit. No purchase is necessary, but we think you’ll want to try some of the delicious craft creations on tap along the way. Passports can be purchased starting at NOON on Friday, April 7th by visiting riverratbrewtrail.com.

Upon completion of all the brewery stops on your passport, you will be eligible to receive your 2023 Trail prize. This year, final prizes will include a set of fifteen limited-edition magnets (featuring designs from each brewery), as well as your choice of a Superbeero-themed hoodie or t-shirt and winter beanie combo. Break out those superbeero six packs and hit the trail!

New: Enhanced Trail Experience Package

BRAND NEW THIS YEAR! Become Superbeero royalty and sign on for the Enhanced River Rat Experience this year! This enhanced package is limited to only 50 craft beer lovers and includes a 2023 passport PLUS a seat at the table for the star of this amazing experience: a multi-course dinner (appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, and dessert) where each course is paired with a craft beer presented by five of our stellar breweries.

Your next-level exbeerience for the evening will start with a mini-reception where you can mix and mingle with fellow craft beer enthusiasts, the brewers who will be showcased during the meal, and the producers of the River Rat Brew Trail. Next, you’ll be escorted to the Great Room to begin your multi-course craft brew dinner. Each course will showcase a new beer presented by the brewer and you will get a complimentary tasting glass for your night to remember.

After dinner, your VIP evening gets even better, with an exclusive tour of Rusty Rail Brewing Company which will showcase their event and dining space, PLUS a tour of the brewery below the dining room AND a tour of their stunning overnight accommodations. And who knows, there may be some extra bling and swag thrown your way to help remember your evening of fun [so we hear from a reliable rat resource].

And speaking of their stunning overnight accommodations, for this event only – and exclusive to the 50 craft brew dinner guests – Rusty Rail Brewing Company is offering a sweet discount on their sleeping rooms for Friday night: $171 for a King Room [the value of this room is $295]. Upon purchase of your RRBT Craft Beer Dinner/Passport Package, you will get a confirmation email with complete instructions to book your room, Oh and by the way, there are only 9 rooms available at this rate so the early rat gets the cheese!

With only 50 seats at the dinner table and 9 sleeping rooms as part of this amazing evening, think fast and purchase your tickets now. This craft brew dinner experience offers the ultimate “date night” for craft brew loving couples, an awesome gift for your craft beer loving friend or family member, or a night to give you and your friends the ultimate craft beer TLC. This evening is made to order for all of our River Rat SuperBeeroes out there!

Passport holders must be 21 years of age or older to participate. Only one passport per person. No refunds or returns will be accepted for this product.