Celebrating Our Region’s Heritage
at Forest City Festival
Biking and running started off the festivities at the celebration of history and heritage on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Rail-Trail Council of NEPA’s Forest City Trail Town Festival. There were bikes to demo and bikes for sale right at the trailhead.
2018 marks the 250th year since anthracite coal mining, as well as railroading and iron-making, became a crucial part of the identity and eventual culture of Northeast Pennsylvania. This anniversary led the Rail-Trail Council to host the festival that highlighted, not only the area’s ethnic heritage, but also the crucial roles coal mining and railroads played in the region’s growth.
Lynn Conrad, executive director of the Rail-Trail Council, says that she hopes the festival will help people recognize those roles.
“Forest City was built around the mining of coal and the development of the railroads,” Conrad said. “In this festival, we’re highlighting the historical aspects of Forest City as it relates to the old railroads and also as it relates to anthracite mining. I hope that people who come to the Trail Town Festival realize the importance that the railroad played in the development of the town.”
The festival featured a day-long lineup of events throughout Forest City, including some on the Delaware & Hudson Rail-Trail, a main project of the council. Located two blocks from Forest City, the trail runs for 38 continuous miles from Carbondale to the New York border. Trail events began with the Coal Cracker quarter marathon and two-mile run benefiting Forest City Regional High School’s cross-country team, a historical sign dedication ceremony and bike rides.
Forest City Historical Society hosted many historical events at its museum including guest speakers and a celebration of Forest City’s ethnic heritage that featured costumes and period music.
The remainder of the festival’s events took place in Forest City’s downtown. These included live music, food and craft vendors and even Linde’s construction vehicles livened up the main street.
The celebration wrapped up with a light parade and fireworks at Forest City industrial park.