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Harrisburg, PA | News and Opinion

Harrisburg Happenings

foodThere is a lot going on in Harrisburg over the summer. The two events that particularly caught my interest happened last week. First, the AFRAM Celebration that took place at my son’s school (Marshall Elementary School) which had a ton of stuff from various African-American businesses and youth groups. There was lots of yummy food being sold by local vendors too. I enjoyed a delectable hog jowl – I know, I know, probably not the healthiest thing I could have consumed but too delicious for words!

The other event I went to the next day with my girlfriend was the Equality Fest. I felt like considering I’m sort of from the older generation (okay yes I admit it I’m middle aged!) it was time I started understanding and accepting the whole gay thing that is truly a part of our lives now. This was a great festival and a fun way to pull down barriers. There were lots of crafts music and different performances as well as a wedding expo that was truly quite colorful and beautiful.

I look forward to the rest of the summer in Harrisburg! Bring on the festivals I say.

 

 

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day

rainSeriously? Rain? On July 4? That’s not okay. How disappointing can you get!!! We were all so looking forward to the Harrisburg festivities this year for Independence Day. There were a lot of activities – for free (which is always great in summer – I wanted to take the boys to. But the rain. Oh the rain.

So we kinda managed. City Island was really great. I was so nervous at the beginning as drizzling did start so I did my little rain dance prayer (rain, rain, go away, come again another day) and it started to lift! Maybe I have some magical powers after all. Or not!

It wasn’t to last though. Me & US were just about to start at 10 30 in the morning and whoa did we feel the rain come tumbling down. Still, people were in good spirits and they stayed. There were only a few of us at that point. The face painting for the kids couldn’t happen either – rain and face paint doesn’t really go so well! But that’s okay as my kids aren’t into that.

Luckily for us, the kids were really optimistic and into it all. So we didn’t leave (like I was suggesting) and managed to thoroughly enjoy the riverboat! Rather, we got through it and had a fun time, despite the rain not listening to my prayers.

Save Our Susquehanna

In an effort to protect the Susquehanna River, SOS – Save Our Susquehanna – was just organized by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). It is hoped that the campaign will help protect the young smallmouth bass population, which, over the last ten years or so has encountered illness and increased fatalities.

At the end of the day I would be devastated if the Susquehanna River didn’t make it. My kids have enjoyed hanging out there for years. And I agree with John Arway, the Executive Director of PFBC who noted the importance of preserving our “aquatic resources so they may be enjoyed by future generations as guaranteed by our state constitution.”

It really would be a terrible shame if my grandchildren are the last generation to benefit from these waters…

The campaign coincides with the upcoming start of bass season on June 13.

Microbrewery Celebration!

breweryA few weeks ago Harrisburg enjoyed a huge celebration with the unification of craft breweries. The Harrisburg Beer Week enabled fans (and I’m certainly in that category!) to celebrate local microbrews for a full eight days throughout eateries and breweries in the region.

There were nearly 150 events during that week! Harrisburg has an awesome craft beer movement. I personally have an affinity toward Hershey’s Troegs, and Harrisburg’s Appalachian Brewing Company. Now there are microbreweries which have sprung off from that.

What else was great was that at the celebration you end up feeling quite virtuous (something that doesn’t happen all that often to me when I’m drinking beer!) as it is a fundraiser following the 2011 destruction of Cameron Street headquarters due to Tropical Storm Lee.

The celebration thus raises awareness for Harrisburg River Rescue too. So I really did eat, drink and became merry…with justification!

Bacco Pizzeria and Wine Bar

Transforming from a nightclub – Club 20 – a pizza store and wine bar is due to open on 20 North Second Street in Harrisburg. This is because owner Max Randazzo believes that the nightclub scene in the area is becoming less popular and instead, restaurants are coming back “in” as it were.

Thus the focus of the new eatery will be Sicilian food, personal-pie pizzas, and more, all made in-house. What Randazzo is happy about is that he will be given the opportunity to do a wine bar which is something he’s always wanted to do. Tommy Pavlovic will be the eatery’s beverage director and he’s had a ton of experience in LA and other Harrisburg restaurants so for sure knows the scene and will be able to offer pre-Prohibition cocktails.

From my point of view this is great. My kids love pizza and I love wine! In addition I believe it will be a great venue to take a date. I for sure will order prosciutto as a topping. And then enjoy that with my cocktail with a difference!

Horse Expo Coming to Harrisburg

horse-racingHarrisburg is so underrated as the great city it is. There is just always so much going on – something for everyone. Take the Pennsylvania Horse Word Expo for example. In its 13th year, the biggest and longest-running hose expo in the mid-Atlantic is coming to town. In fact, we’re right in the middle of it now.

It started two days ago and lasts until tomorrow (the day I’m planning on taking the kids) at Harrisburg’s Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center which is always the perfect venue. It’s going to be crowded but my kids love the crowds. Also this year there is something I’m looking forward to – the show that choreographed comprising, circus, Wild West and horse ballet!

It’s definitely something different. And I love showing the kids how cool animals are, especially horses, one of my favorite types. Come to Harrisburg; it’s fun here!

Farm Show Milkshakes Are Back

milkshakeFarm show milkshakes are available again! It’s a great excuse to go to the Great American Outdoor Show. We’re going today. It runs til Feb 15th at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center.

The milkshakes are going to be served by the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association. The last time I had one was at the 2015 Farm Show. Apparently I wasn’t the only one; 165,000 were sold there! And thus because of that, they are now being sold again, even though they are going to be a dollar more a piece. But the way I see it, for $5, it’s worth it. They are so delicious, especially the vanilla one.

This will now be the third event at which I’ve had one of these milkshakes. The first time was back In 2013 at the Harrisburg’s Kipona Festival.

Cleaning Up the Post-Christmas Streets

christmas-treeI was happy to learn that the Department of Public Works is going to be collecting old Christmas trees this month. It’s a great way to deal with the situation. Apart from cleaning up the mess, this is a truly educational endeavor as they are recycled for other uses. And, the best part is that there are no fees for this service either.

Another initiative the city is engaging in to enhance the environment is the new Regional Transportation Plan. This seeks to both support bus transit and various other transportation methods while improving traffic conditions. The city has already made some headway with this. For example I read recently that there has been a reduction in the amount of vehicles traveling on the roads by 6.4 percent between 2009 and 2013. But the West Shore still needs work in this area. Part of this project is to help people find alternative modes of transportation that are better for the environment.

It’s great to live in Harrisburg.

Ugly Tree

There was such an ugly Christmas tree in Reading that residents actually complained and petitioned to have to it put down. I saw pictures of it but didn’t think it was so bad. It was small and skinny and had a lighted pretzel on top (as it’s in an area with a ton of bakeries) but I thought it looked okay. Obviously these complainers either a) have nothing better to do with their time or b) really have their Christmas spirit affected by ugly trees. I’m not quite sure which option is more acceptable.

So the next step apparently is that a group has started to raise money to purchase a better one and then decorate it themselves. So let’s see what happens with that!

Don’t Spoil Halloween

halloween-candyI’m all for dental hygiene and keeping my kids healthy and safe and all that, but I still want them to enjoy Halloween as much as the next person. That’s why I actually really respected what the Pennsylvania Dental Association did this year connected to Halloween.

Rather than issue some boring educational video on how bad candies are for you, the Dental Association encouraged kids to participate in the Halloween Candy Buyback Program. It’s really cool actually. The way it works is that the dentists hold an event at which they can purchase any Halloween candy a kid got that they didn’t open. They give the kid either: cash, coupons, toothbrushes or other goody bags.

And don’t worry; it’s not like they are keeping the candy for themselves or their kids. Once they’ve collected it all it gets sent to Operation Gratitude which is a Californian non-profit that thereafter ships it all out to soldiers’ and troops overseas.

So it seems that even when you’re big (a soldier) you can still enjoy Halloween thanks to this initiative by the Pennsylvania Dental Association!