Shaver’s Creek Fall Festival will explore superpowers of native plants, animals

PETERSBURG, Pa. – Metropolis may have Superman, but central Pennsylvania has the slimy salamander and the hognose snake.

"The Amazing Superpowers of Native Pennsylvania Plants and Animals" is the theme for this year’s Children’s Halloween Trail at the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center Fall Harvest Festival on Oct. 26 and 27. Trail guides will play the part of reporters in search of a story about plant and animal superpowers, such as the slimy salamander’s glue-like secretions and the hognose snake’s spreading neck hood.

About 1,500 visitors turn out for the annual festival at Penn State’s nature center. In addition to the Children’s Halloween Trail, which dates back more than 25 years, the festival features pumpkin carving, live music, storytelling, face painting and nature activities.

Penn State students in 1850s costumes will demonstrate an old-fashioned apple cider press and give out samples. The two-day festival will also offer birds of prey demonstrations, carnival-type games such as pumpkin bowling and a variety of local food vendors.

More than 100 Penn State students are involved in the festival. The (non-scary) Halloween Trail stations are developed by students enrolled in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management 325: Introduction to Environmental Interpretation and are different every year. Students also earn credits by helping organize and orchestrate the festival.

Festival-goers can enter fall-themed desserts in the Harvest Baking Challenge on both Saturday and Sunday. This year there will also be pumpkin-carving and costume contests. Pumpkins and carving tools will be available free at the festival; there is a $2 charge for visitors who want to take their pumpkin home.

“There’s a little bit for everybody,” said festival director Brian Sedgwick. “The trail is different every year, and the entertainment is different every year. We always have a good time.”

Admission to the festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, is free. Tickets for the Halloween Trail are $5 for children and adults, and free for ages 3 and younger. Advance purchase is recommended by calling 814-863-2000. For more information, visit http://www.ShaversCreek.org/fallfestival.

Volunteers are also invited to carve more than 100 jack-o’-lanterns that are used to decorate the Children’s Halloween Trail on the Thursday before the festival from 6 to 9 p.m. Pumpkins and spooky treats are provided, and preregistration is appreciated.

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Last Updated October 23, 2013