Are We Going Back to the Mesozoic Era?

dinosaurThat being (in case you didn’t know), the time of the dinosaurs.  In Harrisburg it seems we might be going back in time 65 million years ago as dinosaurs visit the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.

The new exhibition – called ‘Discover the Dinosaurs’ – lets visitors come face to face with T-Rex, the Stegosaurus, the Velociraptor and other dinosaurs from that time.  This is a dream come true for my kids at least and I’m sure a bunch of other children.

It’s especially great that the exhibition is in Harrisburg, PA since traditionally Pennsylvania has been a somewhat aggravating state for those who love dinosaurs.  Even though the area has been home to the likes of ceratopsians, raptors and tyrannosaurs’ during Mesozoic times, there are minimal footprints that remain and absolutely no fossils.

Perhaps therefore this new exhibition will shed some light on one of my kids’ favorite hobbies…second only to Lego!

LEGO Fest in Harrisburg!

legoI knew that as soon as my kids would hear about the LEGO KidsFest they’d be more than excited. But I’m not sure they knew how excited I was!  I know that most people assume that Lego is meant to be for kids, but it’s actually not entirely true.

Indeed, just earlier this month Jeff Chabot wrote an article in Gadget Review entitled ’10 of the Biggest, Most Challenging Awesome Lego Sets You Can Kill a Weekend Building,’ detailing some of the top Lego sets for adults! Likewise last year, a video was made depicting the ‘Top 10 Legos for Adults.’ So Lego for adults is not such an anomaly.

So truthfully, the fact that the traveling LEGO extravaganza is finally coming to Harrisburg is indeed a thrill for the whole family.  I sure won’t be missing it!

Go Harrisburg!

fire-truckWell, I always knew my home was a great place to live. And now it’s pretty much been proven. According to one of the most recent reports from the US News and World, Harrisburg ranked at number 25 out of top 100 metro areas to lay your hat.

And why is that exactly? According to the report, Harrisburg’s cost of living is below the national average (great for divorcees like me paying alimony), one of the most affordable housing markets (see above), and “more of a small-town atmosphere than many of the East Coast’s larger cities” (definitely appreciated when I first moved into the area and didn’t know a soul). But truthfully, divorced, single, married or widowed, Harrisburg is great for everyone. And I’m going to tell you a little bit more about that in a moment.

What do we have? Well known is Hershey Park, but there is also the Gettysburg National Military Park and Amish country. And then, Travel Writer Malerie Yolen-Cohen pointed to a bunch of other cool places. These include:   Pennsylvania State Capitol, National Civil War Museum (where you can watch Roosevelt address elderly Civil War veterans at the 7th Anniversary of the War in 1938), Fort Hunter Mansion (getting an education on Victorian artifacts and rituals), Pennsylvania National Fire Museum (to meet Bert and Charlie – made up horses to depict the real ones that pulled the fire wagon), Midtown Scholar Bookstore (one of the largest bookstores nationwide), parachute at the US Army Heritage and Education Center, and so much more.

So personally I think we have it all!

Getting Clothing on the Cheap

clothing-storeSometimes I feel like thrift/consignment stores are a bit like how Forrest Gump compared life (to a box of chocolates): you never quite know what you’re gonna get. And that’s beneficial actually. Well, at least to my girlfriend anyway.

It seems to me that whenever she has free time, she’s searching web pages for different clothing. From dresses to sneakers, boots to hats and then everything in between, she’s always looking for “the perfect” something or other. So when I happened to read in the Harrisburg Magazine about the latest award our very own consignment store received, of course – being the good, caring, loving boyfriend that I am – I told her all about it.

Well that may have – in hindsight – been a bit of a mistake. Now she’s obsessed with Fast Cash Friday at Wears Like New. This store is already inexpensive but with the additional 20 percent discount on Fridays (when paying with cash) it has become an even more attractive location for the girlfriend to spend the beginning of her weekends. Well, at least I get to go down the pub Friday nights now without getting an earache as she is admiring her new purchases, or showing them off to her girlfriends at ‘girls night out.’

Truthfully I don’t mind. I was quite interested to learn that consignment shopping is also beneficial to the environment and to the global recycling effort. She showed me this article that was most informative.

Everyone’s a winner with Wears Like New in Harrisburg as far as I’m concerned. There are smiles all around.

Farm Show Complex

farm-showHarrisburg is home to the world’s “largest outdoor show.” The NRA Great American Outdoor Show is beginning two days from now and I for one, am very excited. It is not just us Harrisburg people who make the most of these festivities; my ex-wife — who has since moved to DuBois — is also coming. OK I could do without that but that’s just an example of how much people like it. Indeed, I hear that this excitement spreads throughout the nation with people coming from outside the state to enjoy the “hottest ticket in town.”

I personally go for the hunting exhibitions myself. But this event is also famous for its outdoor sports, fishing, safaris, adventure trails and other cool events. Well, it spans over 650,000 feet so there has to be a lot going on! I actually heard that this year there are going to be more than 1,100 exhibitors present. My oldest has already told me to be sure we have time to check out the Alaska BearFoot Outfitters because “that’s where I want to work when I leave school.”

The show lasts for nine days and tickets are priced at between $6 and $20. This year though, because I’m considering purchasing an NRA membership, it will be free for me. Membership for a year is only $35 and with that I’ll also get insurance, lots of invitations and so much more. I think it’s time I treated myself. I do love this kind of thing.

Do be sure to download GAOS 2016 (which I just did) so you can follow happenings and events as they occur. And just make sure you don’t miss this; from past experiences I can honestly say it’s the hugest thing to hit Harrisburg, past, present and future.

Getting Healthy in the New Year

wellnessIt’s not even been two weeks and already I can feel myself slipping into bad habits again! I had such great plans and New Year’s Resolutions but alas, we’re only at the 12th January and I already find myself back with the not-so-healthy eating.

So I was pleased to learn that – as part of the after school program being run this year by the Boys and Girls Club – sports, fitness and social development are going to be forming a core focal point. Now, that might not help me get in shape but if I see my boys doing it then I might be inspired as well. Plus, if they stay at this program to do homework, I’ll have extra time for myself. And thus I’ll have no excuse not to workout.

In other not-so-good news for seniors, the Loder Senior Center is in danger of closing down due to budget cuts. This is a place where seniors go to get out of the house and to combat loneliness (which often results in depression). It’s a place where they get their flu shots as well. So if it closes due to financial issues, greater fiscal problems could be the result as more medical attention will be needed when seniors don’t get their assistance from there.

Marathon Runners

marathonSo each year, once one marathon is over, I vow to train for the next one. And each year I keep that promise…for about a week. So this year again I unfortunately missed out and was very unfit by the time the marathon rolled around.

Not that my entrance into the race would have turned heads like Leroy Soltzfus did. But perhaps the 22-year old didn’t want to become famous for the reason he did. It wasn’t due to his speed or grace that Solzfus made headlines but what he was wearing as he was running. You see, Soltzfus – who completed the race in just over three hours – is Amish and actually was clad in clothes typical to that religion. Which is not, as you can imagine, very typical to marathon runners in general.

What was even more interesting for me personally was how Soltzfus described his love of running. He said he uses it to deter his entry into sin! Perhaps I should try that next time I’m ordering a third beer for the night!

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

walkingOr just in Harrisburg, if Harrisburg residents have anything to do with it. He seems to be on a mission to make our city more walk-friendly. There were a bunch of people who came to the City Hall meeting a couple of weeks ago to discuss how to shape the future of our city. And it seemed that making it a more walkable-friendly hood was quite a popular one.

Another idea was to incorporate the old Bishop McDevitt stadium into Reservoir Park. Cornelius Johnson argued that this would “create opportunities for musical concerts and festivals that could generate tourism and summer jobs.”

I personally backed the idea of building refreshment kiosks along the Riverfront Park. It’s a perfect place for me when my kids come to visit. But if there was food available for purchase too, that would give a whole additional new element to our visits.

Anyway whatever eventually goes down I think it’s just fabulous that people are taking such an interest in improving facilities and options throughout our city.

Hip Hop Harrisburg

music festivalFor the second consecutive year, Harrisburg residents are able to enjoy a hip-hop musical festival. The PennsylMania Music Fest that started yesterday brings together around 15 artists hailing from the Harrisburg, Lancaster and York area at Harrisburg’s very own Abbey Bar, Appalachian Brewing Company.

I think I’m going to go. I missed it last year (when apparently there were around 300 people) because I had the kids but this year I am planning on asking my girlfriend to accompany me there. I think it will make for a nice evening out. I’m not so into the music but I think the atmosphere will be great.

Besides, it’s always good to support local events isn’t it?

Woo-Hoo for Festivals!!!

harvest-festivalThe Harrisburg Harvest Festival, that took place over the last weekend in August, was just awesome. We had such fun. Indeed, it has quite become the main pulling event of Harrisburg. I think Brian Latta, our City Manager, got his goal accomplished when he said that they wanted to make sure the Festival was “a local celebration for our heritage, farming and the grass seed harvest.” It truly was.

Also it’s good because apart from last year, they didn’t have the Harvest Festival for like a decade and a half. I’d really missed it. Was very glad it came back. They decided it would be a good way to draw people in to town and farmers were interested in doing it again. I think they succeeded.

Either way my kids loved the tent with games and the horseshoe tournament was just so different! In my opinion, it was a great pre back-to-school activity. And now that my kids are back in school I think I might just have to have a little festival of my own! Happy fall everyone!