CURWENSVILLE – Fifty years ago, a little town along the West Branch of the Susquehanna celebrated the very first Curwensville Days.
Many things have changed over the years, but one thing remains constant, the desire of the community to come together to celebrate family, friends and home.
Curwensville Days began in 1969 when the Curwensville Jaycees held a three-day event and in 1971 the Rescue Hose and Ladder Co. got involved with a parade and various organizations started attending with their booths.
In 1974, the festival expanded to a week-long celebration, the highlight of which was a performance by country western star Hank Snow. However, the name “Curwensville Days” wasn’t added to the event until 1975.
The festival moved from three days to a full week, and the carnival rides had to be eliminated due to insurance costs.
Curwensville Days is always scheduled so that the parade will be held the third Saturday of July.
This year’s committee includes President Martha Tozer, Vice President Melissa Sloppy, Secretary Sandy Bowery, Treasurer Deb Bowser and members Sheila Williams and Shaina Franson.
While not official committee members, Tozer noted there has been a lot of behind the scenes help from Dave Franson and Bill Williams. “I greatly appreciate their help,” she said.
For this Golden Anniversary, there are going to be a few new things, including some new vendors and bands. Perhaps the biggest special event for the town will be a fireworks display at dusk July 15, provided by R&R Fireworks of Houtzdale.
The schedule this year includes:
- Sunday, the band Not Ashamed at the band shell at 5:15 p.m. followed by the Vesper Services and then the Rotary Club’s presentation of Citizen of the Year;
- Monday the queen contest will be held at 6 p.m. followed by DJ Stew and then the fireworks at dusk;
- Tuesday will see Touch of Gold dance company followed by DJ Stew;
- the Grampian Band will perform Wednesday at 6 p.m. followed by the singing group The Sharptones, who will entertain with oldies and various musical arrangements;
- the Fiddler’s Contest will be held Thursday with registration at 6 p.m. and the contest at 6:30, followed by Heather Olson and the Silver Eagle Band featuring the music of Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn;
- Friday night’s 6 p.m. entertainment is still to be determined, but at 8 p.m. The Moore Brothers will entertain the crowds; and
- Saturday the annual 5K Run/Walk sponsored by the Lions and Women’s clubs will start at 9 a.m., with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. The car show registrations will begin at 9 a.m. with judging beginning at 12 p.m. and awards from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the annual Chicken BBQ will take place and the annual parade starts at 6:30 p.m. The band Twin Reverb will close out the festival at 8 p.m.
The annual cutest baby and cutest pet contest will run from Monday through Thursday with final donations accepted by 9 p.m. Thursday and winners announced Friday. There are still openings for the queen contest, Tozer added.
For the fiddler’s contest, there are four groups competing for cash prizes for first, second and third places. To enter, arrive early at the park that night and register.
As always, there is plenty of food, games, raffles and more to see and do. And it’s always a great time to meet old friends and make new ones, according to Tozer.
“I hope we can continue the festival for many years to come,” Tozer said, “and hopefully increasing the new and different things each year.” She said people have long planned family reunions around the festival.
“We encourage everyone to come and enjoy yourself, meet old friends and just have fun and have a good meal at the same time,” Tozer added. “There is no charge for parking or admission to the park or the entertainment.”
New faces are always welcome at committee meetings. Tozer said the meetings are held the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Curwensville Community Center.
The first meeting is in January, and the final meeting is in October, when they close out the year and start thinking about the next.
“This festival would not happen without the support of our Curwensville community,” Tozer expressed, “And my committee is such a huge help to me to keep everything together. I would be lost without them.”