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Laughter Returns to Harrisburg

I just found out that Eclipse and Mars just re-opened in Harrisburg.  It’s been a while since it was last around – in fact, way before my time – but now it’s all the rage and locals are very excited about the cool, improved clubs – Second Street Comedy Club and Buddha Buddha!  Different titles for sure, but similar ideas I hear.

I could for sure do with some comedy and that’s exactly what the former is going to offer, located above the Harrisburg Hardware Bar.  Food and laughter – that’s about as perfect a combination as you can get as far as I’m concerned.  Monthly they are going to feature top talent like Josh Blue, “the comedian who puts the cerebral in cerebral palsy,” who will be the grand-opening star.  What’s nice too is that all proceeds from the $10 tickets will be donated to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund, so while we’re having a laugh, we can feel good about it too!

Harrisburg JCC Performance

I was pretty proud of my middle kid this last Sunday.  He was one of the performers at our local JCC. I was so glad he was able to do this, especially given the flood damage the center encountered over the summer.  But I guess that’s partly why the whole thing happened anyway.  It was meant as a performance-cum-fundraiser.  That’s what I love about this city – a bunch of us just grouped together to try and help with some of the center’s losses; after all, it is OUR community center.

Anyway Zach featured in the “Kids Care” musical showcase which raised money toward refurbishing the flood-damaged JCC. I thought this was great since it enabled him to perform, but also showed him the importance of doing something for an important cause.  Even if you are not able to give money, you can show your support in other ways, I felt was the lesson.

The kids sang songs from popular musicals including “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Wicked.”  It was really nice to see so many people – especially the kids – banding together to save the JCC, giving their time and talents.  And we heard later that over $11,000 was raised from the evening!

Getting in Some True Irish Entertainment

When I relocated to Harrisburg a few months ago after the divorce, the last thing I could ever imagine doing was ever going out again, especially in an evening, to a pub or something else resembling entertainment.  I just couldn’t picture myself being happy again I guess.  I figured I’d just be one of those sad middle-aged men who sat at home with a microwave meal for one and see out the end of my days.

Thankfully it’s really true what they say about time healing.  Over the last month or so I’ve really changed my tune.  Now I’m always looking for something to do – with or without the kids.  And so I was absolutely thrilled when I recently discovered McGrath’s – the coolest Irish pub ever – right here in Harrisburg.  It really is great and it’s the city’s first ever real McDeal – true, authentic Irish pub.

The pub has been around for a while too; it opened nearly 10 years ago.  But I just hadn’t heard about it.  Now though, since the divorce is no longer so raw, after a long day at the office, especially when I’m alone (which is most nights; the kids just visit every other weekend and some Tuesdays), I love unwinding there.  It’s very friendly and pretty green too; so it just gives you an all-round feeling of feel good.  The brews are great and the food isn’t bad either, but truthfully I go for the mellow, relaxation element that you always get in a good Irish pub; no-one is judging me; everyone is there to chill out and unwind.  What more could one ask for? Perfect.

Harrisburg Cancels Holiday Parade

Every year the city of Harrisburg enjoys a Holiday Parade.  This year it was scheduled for November 19 but will not take place due to financial problems the city is incurring, which probably was not helped by its recent flood.  In addition, while Harrisburg usually receives sponsors for its parade, this year no businesses came forward at all with an offer.

Big Harrisburg Debt

The truth of the matter is, Harrisburg has to face reality and its financial situation is not looking good.  The city is up against huge amounts of debt right now – currently $310m in unpaid bonds for the incinerator as well as close to $300m of other debts etc.  Thus to spend $30,000 now on a Parade would at best, be inappropriate, even though it’s been a Harrisburg tradition since 1986 and always ends up supporting the city’s local businesses.

What will happen in the future to Harrisburg and its entertainment remains to be seen. There is now talk of the possibility of canceling the fireworks the city usually enjoys on New Year’s Eve.  By the end of the month they’ll know if they have the sponsors needed for this.

Clearly the city has to work hard to get out of debt.  That must be a priority.  But in the meantime, it has to realize that to make money, money has to be spent. And these entertainment activities are always good for local businesses so that must be brought into the calculation as well.

Getting in Some Harrisburg Culture

The summer seems to be ending.  But that does not necessarily mean that all the fun has to stop as well.  Indeed, there is still a lot happening in Harrisburg now and in the near future.  For those wanting a bit of culture, the Theatre Harrisburg has a lot on offer right now.  While the summer is bowing out, Christmas is on its way and next month you can already start getting into the spirit of the holiday with the performance, ‘A Christmas Story,’ by Leigh Brown, Bob Clark and Jean Shepherd, produced with the Dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois.

Located at 513 Hurlock Street, Harrisburg, the Theatre Harrisburg has a reputation for entertaining the whole family.  A Christmas Story is no different.  This is the original version of the popular movie classic and will give everyone a warm feeling in time for the holidays.  Playing between 4-20 November, this will be a perfect jump start to the upcoming Christmas holiday, appropriate for the entire family.

Apple Picking in Harrisburg

It was that time of year again when Harrisburg residents got to go pick their apples close to home.  And what great ones there seem to be in Harrisburg right now, arriving just in time for the city’s 13th annual Apple Fest.  Last weekend there was so much more than just apple-picking fun.  Engage in this fun family activity on a tractor wagon ride or horse-drawn hayride.  And for those who have filled their baskets to the brim with apples, they were able to send their kids out to enjoy a pony ride, or a train ride especially tailored for little ones.  For those with boundless energy, the inflatable playground no doubt exhausted them and the artistic kids were able to enjoy some face painting. The Apple Fest is truly so much more than an apple-picking fete; it’s fun for everyone.

So that was what was going on in the city Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th, located three miles south of Sioux Falls on Minnesota Avenue.  If you missed it this year, be sure to check it out next year; it really is a fun thing to do.