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The 75th Annual Laurel Festival

Highlights from the 2016 PA State Laurel Festival in Wellsboro, PA!


by John Vogt, Home Page Staff - June 20, 2016

The 75th annual Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival took place in Wellsboro this past week. Today on Wellsboro Home Page we cover the highlights of this special event. Thanks for watching and sharing today’s broadcast.

The weather this past Saturday was picture-perfect. What a great day for the Laurel Festival parade and all the fun and pageantry that goes with it! The venders were all gathered on The Green. There were many wonderful items to purchase, and some great deals too. The food did not disappoint the attendees who look forward to this delicious aspect of the Laurel Festival, year after year.

But the events leading up to the famous parade down Wellsboro’s Main Street and the coronation of the new Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival Queen began back on June 11th with the Family Day and Children’s Health Fair. Children of all ages enjoyed this event. There were free games, music, giveaways, and healthy snacks. Families had a ball playing a variety of instruments, sitting in an official Wellsboro Fire Department firetruck, and even jumping in a bouncy house! There was also free face-painting, balloon animals, bubbles, crafts, Frisbees, jump ropes, playground balls, and bike helmets. The helmets were properly fitted to each child before they received them. Officer Warren was there reminding us that it is a state law in Pennsylvania for all children under the age of 12 to wear a helmet while they ride their bike. We were even visited by special guests, Smokey Bear and Bobber the Water Safety dog, to gain some helpful tips on staying safe this summer.

Then on Sunday, June 12th it was time for the annual Pet Parade. All types of pets marched down Main Street in Wellsboro to help kick off Laurel Festival week. People lined the street to see an assortment of dogs, cats, goats, horses and even a goose and a spider. The animals and their owners marched from Packer Park to the Green, where trophies for the winners were presented. The Laurel Concert Series ended this wonderful day with the Wednesday Morning Musicales Chorus performing at the United Methodist Church. On Monday, June 13th the Laurel Concert Series continued at the Coolidge Theatre in the Deane Center with Callanish. On June 14th Megan McGarry also performed at the Coolidge Theatre.

Then on Wednesday, June 15th the Laurel Concert Series continued with the Wellsboro Town Band performing on The Green. This concert was the first night in the summer series of four concerts with the Almost World Famous town band here in Wellsboro. The director of the town band, Dr. Adam Brennan, although originally from Chicago, has been living here in Wellsboro for the past twenty – two years. “I am still here loving the home town atmosphere of small town living.” said Dr. Brennan.
The theme for this year’s concert series is, “home is where the heart is,” with most songs about Wellsboro or returning home to the area. One of the songs performed at the first concert was entitled ‘Salute to Wellsboro March’ a turn of the century march written by H.C. Miller and arranged by Michael Galloway for the band.

The Laurel Concert Series continued on Thursday, June 16th as the Wellsboro Men’s and Women’s Choruses performed at the First Presbyterian Church of Wellsboro and on Friday, June 17th the Arts and Crafts Fair began and the International Street of Foods on The Green was open for business. The Queens were welcomed at the outdoor stage at the Deane Center and the Zydeco Trail Riders closed the evening with a fabulous outdoor concert.

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Then on Saturday, June 19th under beautiful skies the Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival Parade marched it’s way down Main Street in Wellsboro before a crowd of thousands. What a beautiful day, and what a spectacular parade! Later that evening, the Grand Finale took place in the Coolidge Theatre at the Deane Center as guests gathered to see who would be crowned our new Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival Queen. The music for this year’s coronation ceremony was presented by Houston Baker, Johanna Vogt and Paige Hagy. Our Masters of Ceremony were Ken VanSant and Mark Hamilton. The audience watched carefully as the 10 finalists faced the challenge of answering randomly-drawn questions as their final test. Then we all waited patiently as the judges struggled to select this year’s queen.

Queens Coordinator Tara Gordon announced that Miss Twin Valley, Caitlin Kelly was named Miss Congeniality. Caitlin was also named second runner-up and recipient of a $500 scholarship. Miss St. John Neumann, Olivia Pierce was named this year’s first runner-up and received a $750 scholarship. Miss Jersey Shore, Valerie Smith was crowned as the 2016 Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival Queen and was awarded a $1,500 educational scholarship. Join us tomorrow here on Home Page as we feature highlights from the Unity Service on The Green and a special interview with our Pennsylvania State Laurel Festival Queen Valerie Smith and her family.

Once again, we would like to give a huge thank you to the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce: Executive Director Julie VanNess, Chamber President Marsha Chesko, and all of the Chamber staff who did an amazing job of hosting this historic event. We hope you enjoy today’s broadcast feature. Please share it with friends and family! Special thanks to Andrew Moore, Morgan Koziar, Lauren Gooch, Drew Patrick, Sarah Gillingham, Jason Saulter, Madeline Sweet, Rebecca Hazen, Jason Flethcer, Audrey Becker, Rhonda Pearson, Sara Vogt, and all the Home Page staff and sponsors for making this year’s coverage possible. Today’s broadcast was paid for by Xtreme Internet and Susquehanna Health. Our air coverage for this event was handled by Remote Intelligence with quadcopter launching accommodations and strategic planning sessions made available by the historic Penn Wells Hotel.

Thank you again for watching,
John Vogt

[Please enjoy these pictures taken by Rebecca Hazen.]

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Produced by Vogt Media

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