Tag Archives: bluegrass

State Park Events this September

September is for apples, fall foliage, and state park events! From fiddling to marbles, bison to wild ponies, we’ve uncovered September’s liveliest state park events to kick off your fall.

State Park Event: Mountaineer Folk Festival 
Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee
September 5 – 7, 2014

children playing on the grass at the Mountaineer Folk Festival state park events at old time sorghum-milling

Old Time Sorghum-Milling [Image: www.tnvacation.com]

Head to Fall Creek Falls State Park for incredible food, music, and amazing views of the park’s popular waterfalls! For three days, the Mountaineer Folk Festival will be playing up live bluegrass and gospel music. Visitors can try their hand at pioneer skills and square dancing. There’ll be cannon firing, sorghum-making, and blacksmithing demos, and over 100 craft booths to browse for treasures. Fall Creek Falls State Park was listed as one of the most popular family destinations by Better Homes & Gardens and Southern Living. With Pocket Ranger®’s Tennessee State Parks app, reserve a campsite or cabin to enjoy the park’s outstanding waterfalls, forests, canyons, and golf course!

State Park Event: National Rolley Hole Marble Championship 
Standing Stone State Park, Tennessee
September 13, 2014

Featured on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and National Geographic, the National Rolley Hole is the world’s most challenging marble tournament. The best players from around the globe come to compete at Standing Stone State Park. Tournament players use flint marbles made by local craftsmen on the park’s clay dirt marble yard. Not yet a marble pro? Check out the marble-making demos, kids’ games and swap meet!

State Park Event: Archeofest 
Pinson Mounds State Park, Tennessee
September 15 – 16, 2014

Pinson Mounds State Park in Tennessee

Pinson Mounds [Image: www.rjrvtravels.com]

You won’t want to miss Archeofest at Pinson Mounds State Park! Archeofest celebrates Native American culture and features traditional singing, dancing, regalia and games. Participate in some of the exciting demos on pottery, flintknapping, leatherwork and jewelry or check out the craft fair. The fifteen Native American mounds found at the park were created thousands of years ago. Archeological evidence suggests that these mounds may have been used for both ceremonial and burial purposes. Tour the park’s museum to learn more about these fascinating, man-made structures.

State Park Event: Laura Ingalls Wilder Days 
Heritage Hill State Park, Wisconsin
September 13 – 14, 2014

Families at a state park event called Laura Ingalls Wilder Days at Heritage Hill State Park

Laura Ingalls Wilder Days [Image: www.decoraharea.com]

Celebrate the early American pioneer lifestyle of author, Laura Ingalls Wilder at Heritage Hill State Park’s Laura Days! Laura Days is a weekend full of family fun. Watch the beautiful Grand Parade in the park, and partake in a pie-eating contest or a spelling bee. Take it easy in a horse-drawn wagon ride and later throw up your heels at the square dance. There is an exciting tomahawk-throwing contest and medicine show to see, too! The arts & crafts market features fresh produce, Amish baked goods, and handmade items.

State Park Event: Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival 
Custer State Park, South Dakota
September 27 – 28, 2014

The world’s largest, publicly-owned bison herd roams free over Custer State Park’s 71,000 acres. Each year, this herd of 1,300 is brought thundering into the corrals by cowboys and cowgirls. The bison are then sorted, branded, and given health checks. If you’re not one of the lucky few astride a horse, watch the buffalo stampede over a hot cup of coffee from the corrals’ bleachers. Afterwards, mosey on over to the bustling arts festival and fantastic food challenges, such as the Annual Buffalo Wallow Chili Cook-off and Cabela’s Challenge Dutch Oven Cook-off.

State Park Event: Prairie Jubilee 
Prairie State Park, Missouri
September 27, 2014

Bison at Prairie State Park for the Prairie Jubilee state park event

Bison at Prairie State Park, MO [Image: blog.visitmo.com]

Come celebrate the tallgrass at Prairie State Park’s Prairie Jubilee! A living history loop gives visitors insight into what life was like for early Missouri settlers. Listen to live music and give the bison chip-throwing contest a try. There will be a reenactment of an old-time medicine show and free tours of the bison herd. Hungry? Grab yourself a bison burger and settle down in the tallgrass to gaze out at the gorgeous sea of green.

State Park Event: Annual Fall Harvest Festival
Grayson Highlands State Park, Virginia
September 27 – 28, 2014

Wild Ponies feeding at the Annual Fall Harvest Festival State Park Event at Grayson Highlands State Park

Wild Ponies at Grayson Highlands State Park [cindybsims.blogspot.com]

Since 1976, Grayson Higlands State Park has held the annual Fall Harvest Festival. Bursting with autumn foliage and exhibitions of Appalachian culture, the Fall Harvest Festival is a treat for the whole family. Help yourself to local food, like hobo pies, biscuits, and BBQ. Stop by the craft fair for walking sticks, quilts, turkey calls, and puppets. Grayson Highlands State Park is also home to a population of feral (and very cute!) ponies. The ponies protect the park from dangerous forest fires by eating back the brush. Wish you had your very own Grayson Highlands pony? You’re in luck! Each year, a few of these wild ponies are auctioned off to the public during the festival.

Suggested Gear List

  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel Handbag

Check out the Pocket Ranger® Gear Store for these items & more!

August’s Best State Park Events

wave, summer, beach, sand, surf

Image: nnym.youthministry360.com

August, already?! We here at ParksByNature can’t believe it either. End your summer right by heading to one (or all!) of these great events at the State Parks.

Woodsmen’s Show
Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
August 1-3, 2014

lumberjacks, log, tree, saw, cross-cutting, grass, crowd, people, summer, suspenders, woodsmen

Cross-cutting at the Woodsmen’s Show [Image: www.sungazette.com]

Want to see lumberjacks fell, saw, carve, haul, axe and roll giant logs? Come celebrate the life of a woodhick at the three-day annual Woodsmen’s Show at Cherry Springs State Park! Since 1952, thousands have flocked to the Woodsmen’s Show to watch cross-cutting, spring board chopping, chainsaw carving, and horse pulling competitions. Inspired by all the axe throwing and log rolling? Then sign up for the show’s amateur lumberjack competitions! At the historical logging camp, you’ll find demonstrations of traditional hunting, forging and raft-making techniques. Rousing live folk and bluegrass music will play throughout, and don’t forget to indulge in all of the show’s hearty food. Besides its logging history, Cherry Springs State Park is legendary for its dark skies. The skies at the park are so dark that the Milky Way casts a shadow! Reserve a campsite so you can see for yourself.

Jericho ATV Festival
Jericho Mountain State Park, New Hampshire
August 1-3, 2014

mud pit, ATVs, race, mud, helmets, arctic cat, fence, crowd

Nothing like a good mud pit! [Image: www.coupleofsports.com]

It’s all about the mud at the 5th Annual Jericho ATV Festival. For one weekend, hundreds of ATVs, quads, dirt bikes, and dune buggies will be mudding it up in the waist-deep mud pits, cruising down Main Street, and tackling Jericho Mountain’s plentiful ATV trails. From amateurs to pros, everyone can compete in poker runs, obstacle courses, ATV pulls, mud pit races and grudge runs, and the popular “wreck the dress” race. For demos, giveaways, live music, beer tent and plenty of good BBQ head to the festival’s Downtown Block Party in Berlin, New Hampshire. And be sure to check out the Rave X Freestyle Show: A dirt biker and quad rider will perform heart-stopping stunts 20 feet in the air!

Away from the competition, take a ride along the 80 miles of trail at Jericho Mountain State Park. This extensive trail network offers the best OHRV riding New England has to offer with breathtaking views and varied terrain to satisfy all riders. Use Pocket Ranger®’s Official Guide for New Hampshire State Parks to mark waypoints and keep track of friends while ATV-ing together on the trails.

Twin Peaks Festival
Olallie State Park, Washington
August 1-3, 2014

Twin Peaks, tv show, Washington, forest, sign, trees, road, car, mountains

Image: twinpeaksgifs.tumblr.com

This August, fans from all over the world will flock just east of Seattle to Olallie State Park for the annual Twin Peaks Fest. Aired in the early 1990’s, this cult classic TV show by director and writer David Lynch was inspired by the area’s waterfalls, dense woods, and small town-feel. Look forward to touring the show’s filming locations and watching the pilot episode of Twin Peaks on the big screen. On Saturday night, get gussied up as your favorite character for the costume contest and dine alongside actual Twin Peaks celebrities. This year’s celebrity guests include Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), Chris Mulkey (Hank Jennings), James Marshall (James Hurley) and more! The festival closes with a Tibetan rock-throw contest and that iconic piece of cherry pie.

Sioux River Folk Festival
Newton Hills State Park, South Dakota
August 1-3, 2014

folk music, festival, fiddle, banjo, musicians, sioux river folk festival, guitars

Image: www.folkatfestival.com

Get ready for three days of live fiddlin’ music, dancing, and family fun! The annual Sioux River Folk Festival at Newton Hills State Park features traditional music, such as folk, bluegrass, old time, and gospel played by some of the very best. Throughout the weekend, music and yoga workshops will also be held. During the Saturday break, musically-inclined festival-goers can sign up for a juried campground contest. Winners of this talent contest open for the festival’s big closing set on Saturday night and receive an original Headley Eyesore artwork signed by the artist himself. So you don’t miss a moment, reserve a campsite at the park using Pocket Ranger®’s Official Guide for South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks app.

World’s Longest Yard Sale
DeSoto State Park, Alabama
August 7-10, 2014

yard sale, quilts, knick-knacks, barnyard, dolls, pink, bargains, Alabama

Miles of bargains! [Image: worldslongestyardsaleproject.blogspot.com]

Did you miss Kentucky’s 400 Mile Sale or are you just hungry for more thrifting? This August, the heart of the World’s Longest Yard Sale traverses Alabama’s DeSoto State Park. As seen on HGTV, USA Today, Newsweek, and The Tonight Show, the World’s Longest Yard Sale follows U.S. 126 Corridor from Gadsden, Alabama to Addison, Michigan for more than 690-miles of scenic beauty and bargain finds. Take a dip in DeSoto State Park’s Olympic-size pool before hitting the road for another day of yard sales.

Annual Day of Honor Event
Chief Plenty Coups State Park, Montana
August 30, 2014

Native Americans, Montana, west, grass, festival, feathers, beadwork, dancing

Traditional dancing at the Day of Honor [Image: visitmt.com]

A day of cultural sharing, the 20th Annual Day of Honor at Chief Plenty Coups State Park commemorates the last chief of the Apsaalooke (Crow) people and his legacy of promoting understanding, peace and harmony among races. Visitors can tour Chief Plenty Coups’ log house and gravesite, and place prayer flags at the sacred medicine spring. Throughout the day, listen to storytellers and watch traditional dancing accompanied by drumming. Browse the craft fair for treasures, such as beaded items, Native American dolls, and paintings. Don’t leave before partaking in the park’s FREE buffalo feast! To feed the 600 guests, the park staff at Chief Plenty Coups State Park slow-roast a buffalo in a giant pit for twelve hours on the Day of Honor. Roast bison is served with all the traditional fixings, including corn on the cob, fry bread, watermelon and berry pudding.

Attend any of these events? We’d love to hear about it!
Leave a comment or share a photo with us on our Facebook page!

July’s Best State Park Events

park rangers, demos, festival, Eno River, state park, kids

Image: www.ncparks.gov

July is bursting with great events (and fireworks!) at state parks around the country. We’ve combed through the event calendars and uncovered the ones that you won’t want to miss:

Three Rivers Regatta
Point State Park, Pennsylvania
July 2 – 4, 2014

Three Rivers Regatta, Point State Park, Pennsylvania, crowd, boats, water, festival

Three Rivers Regatta [Image: www.brooklineconnection.com]

Point State Park is the place to be this summer! Just a few weeks after holding the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Point State Park gears up for another colossal event: the Three Rivers Regatta. Work on your summer tan while at Regatta Beach (one of only two makeshift inner city beaches in the world), then mosey on over to the larger-than-life replica of the Battle of Ft. McHenry made entirely of sand. Don’t blink or you could miss the powerboat races, where boats frequently top speeds of 125 mph!

Looking for more excitement? This year, the Regatta is hosting the XPogo World Championships in addition to BMX and agility dog stunt shows. A fan favorite is “Anything that Floats,” a parade of handmade, crazily decorated parade floats that bob down the river. This year’s headliners include American rock singer Steve Augeri, former lead vocalist for the rock group Journey, jazz musician Kenny Blake, and Beatlemania Magic. The Regatta culminates with Pittsburgh’s Official 4th of July Celebration fireworks, widely considered to be one of the Top 10 Fourth of July fireworks displays in the country. And did we mention that all of this fun is free? There is no admission fee and no charge for any of the Regatta’s concerts, acts, activities, or events!


Festival for the Eno
Durham City Park, North Carolina
July 4 – 5, 2014

Festival for the Eno, drums, band, live music, North Carolina, crowd, summer, tents

Festival for the Eno [Image: blog.fmrealty.com]

Looking for fantastic music this Independence Day weekend? Check out the 35th Annual Festival for the Eno in Durham, North Carolina. With over 65 acts on four stages, there’s sure to be something that strikes your fancy. All proceeds of ticket sales go towards funding important conservation of the Eno River Basin. An assortment of local food trucks will be serving up some great bites, and the Sweetwater Beer Garden at the heart of the festival will be happy to pour you a local brew. Be sure to rent a kayak or canoe so you can spend some quality time paddling around on the festival’s namesake! Need a place to crash for the night? Using Pocket Ranger®’s Official Guide for North Carolina State Parks, you can easily rent a campsite or vacation cabin at Eno River State Park.


World Championship of Catfishing & Independence Day Celebration
Pickwick Landing State Park, Tennessee
July 4 – 6, 2014

Catfish, World Championship, Tennessee, fishermen, summer

World Championship of Catfishing [Image: www.tnvacation.com]

Catfish, fireworks, bluegrass, golf. What better way to celebrate Independence Day? Pickwick Landing State Park will present an excellent fireworks display over Pickwick Lake on July 4th. Spend the night at Pickwick Landing’s inn, so you can tee up at the golf course or lounge at the beach bright and early the next day.

Nearby Savannah, Tennessee, also known as “Catfish Capital of the World,” is currently hosting the National Catfish Derby. Through July 5, any catfish caught in the Tennessee River is eligible to win. (Don’t forget to upload photos of your own monster catch onto Pocket Ranger Trophy Case®!) On July 6, the World Championship of Catfishing will have its final weigh-in at Pickwick Landing State Park with cash and prizes awarded to the winner. Not so interested in noodling for your own catfish? Then stick around for the after-party for free catfish and live music. Or grab a lawn chair and head to the 35th Annual Savannah Bluegrass Festival to listen to the best that Tennessee has to offer.


11th Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival
Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio
July 12 – 13, 2014

Toledo Lighthouse, girl, sunglasses, water, Lake Erie, lighthouse

Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival [Image: www.toledoblade.com]

Looking to tour the inside of a 100-year old lighthouse this summer? Head to the 11th Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival at Maumee Bay State Park! Since Toledo Lighthouse remains active, this festival is one of only two times annually that the lighthouse is open to visitors. Afterwards, visit the Nautical Village arts & crafts show to pick up some lighthouse-inspired souvenirs and try your luck at the silent auction. With over 200 items at the auction, you’re bound to win something! Help yourself to delicious food like brats, homemade fries, shrimp, and funnel cake while listening to Jimmy Buffet-style musical entertainment at the park’s amphitheatre. And while you can’t spend the night in the lighthouse, you can reserve a campsite (or a yurt!) at Maumee Bay State Park.


Bannack Days
Bannack State Park, Montana
July 19 – 20, 2014

Bannack Days, Montana, collage, pioneers, old, horses, gunfight

Bannack Days [Image: blog.rv.net]

A fun-filled weekend celebrating 152 years of history, Bannack Days at Bannack State Park is something you don’t want to miss! Learn how to shoot a black-powder rifle, pan for gold, and hand-dip a souvenir candle. Watch the local blacksmith forge incredible works of art and take a wagon ride along Bannack’s historic main street. Get ready for good eats like ice cream, kettle corn, fry bread, corn on the cob, and fresh lemonade. Throughout both days, there will be plenty of live bluegrass, gospel, and old-time fiddler music. And keep your eyes peeled for a few staged gunfights!


4th Annual Wakonda Indian Festival
Glen Elder State Park, Kansas
July 19 – 20, 2014

Wakonda Indian Festival, Native American, dance, feathers, tribal dress, haybale

Wakonda Indian Festival [Image: www.sparkpeople.com]

Dancing, drumming, storytelling: Learn all about Native American culture firsthand at the 4th Annual Wakonda Indian Festival at Glen Elder State Park. Waconda Lake was once a spring, believed to hold great healing powers. On the shores of this lake, there will be traditional and contemporary Native American drumming and dances, such as the Hoop Dance and Crow Hop Dance. Stories and legends will be told by master storyteller Ron Brave in the festival’s tipi. Help yourself to delicious Indian tacos, fry bread, and buffalo burgers, and browse the fine silverwork, leatherwork, jewelry, and dreamcatchers on display. Since it’s sure to be a bit warm that day, bring along a bathing suit so you can take a dip in Waconda Lake.