Lackawanna County Heritage Fair returns to Montage | News

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After a two-year hiatus, the Lackawanna County Heritage Fair will return this year with expanded vendor, entertainment and educational offerings, fair officials said.

The five-day event kicks off June 1 at Montage Mountain Resorts, featuring carnival rides, musical entertainment, craft and food vendors, and daily hands-on demonstrations and presentations.

The fair, first held in 2019, was supposed to be an annual event. The COVID-19 pandemic scuttled it in 2020. The Lackawanna County Fair and Recreation Authority, which organizes the event, wanted to hold it last year, but pandemic-related restrictions were not lifted until April, leaving no time to find a carnival ride operator.

Armand Olivetti, the authority’s chairman, said he’s excited to bring a new and improved version of the event, which will include an expanded indoor vendor section and many new activities sponsored by the Lackawanna Historical Society. So far, about 100 vendors, including 20 food vendors, have committed.

The historical society joined with several groups and individuals to present multiple events and interactive demonstrations, including how to make Lithuanian straw art and pysanky — Ukrainian Easter eggs decorated with traditional folk designs. Other events include a how-to lesson on mural painting.

“We are trying to make it more interactive and hands-on,” said Mary Ann Moran-Savakinus, the society’s executive director. “Our whole mission is about engaging people in their past. … We have a broad scope, offering something different every day.”

The society also will hold a “Jeopardy!”-like game show featuring eight teams questioned on local history. The show, held at the Montage lodge, will be available live on Facebook.

The cost to attend the fair is $10. That includes access to the Montage Water Park, all carnival rides offered by Swikas Amusements, as well as entertainment provided by a wide variety of bands.

“We’re trying to mix it up every day with all kinds of music,” said Jim Rodway, fair manager. “We have a polka band, a Latino band and local cover bands that play music from all eras.”

In its inaugural season, the fair, plagued by rain over two days and a power outage that shut down operations a third day, drew about 13,000 people. Olivetti said officials expect it to draw about 30,000 to 35,000 this year.

“Everyone I talk to says people are talking it up,” Olivetti said. “We are confident we are going to do well, as long as the weather holds up.”

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