The eighth annual Wally Lake Fest is fast approaching. This Friday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27, the Hawley/Lake Region will buzz with the excitement of this far reaching community event with numerous and diverse activities marking the closing days of our recreational summer.

LAKE REGION - The eighth annual Wally Lake Fest is fast approaching. This Friday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27, the Hawley/Lake Region will buzz with the excitement of this far reaching community event with numerous and diverse activities marking the closing days of our recreational summer.

All so soon, kids are back in school, and most of the weekend residents and tourists will have gone home. In 2010 Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP) launched a way to celebrate the lifestyle and assets enjoyed in the Lake Wallenpaupack area, capping another ambitious summer schedule.

Keith Williams, who has chaired the Wally Lake Fest Committee from the very beginning, explained how the event has shown its value, shown in many comments from those who attend the event as well as local businesspeople. The latter have found that it is either the biggest weekend of the year or second only to the 4th of July weekend on terms of the economic impact for the area.

All dependent on the weather- and only in one year (2011) did they have serious impact from rain - the area becomes jammed with people circulating, taking in the abundant amenities Wally Lake Fest has to offer.

Shuttles & a train

More shuttle buses have been added, and Brookfield Renewable Energy, which is now the utility that owns and operates Lake Wallenpaupack’s hydroelectric facility, has made available their parking area by the Environmental Learning Center.

Free shuttles make a continual circuit, and get heavy use. “There was standing room only on the buses,” Williams said. This year they have added both Saturday and Sunday, for the shuttle’s northern loop into downtown Hawley.

The Stourbridge Line train excursions provide a special Wally Lake Fest excursion bringing in passengers from Honesdale. They have a layover in Hawley, where this year a shuttle bus will be coordinated to be at the Hawley Station, to take train riders to the lake, if they wish. During the layover, the public has the option to buy train tickets at the Hawley Station to take a special, scenic ride to Lackawaxen and back.

Some new items

While many of the popular events continue at Wally Lake Fest, there are few new items.
Extending the reach of “Greater Hawley,” the Dorflinger Factory Museum on Route 6 in downtown White Mills will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy the displays of antique Dorflinger cut glass and see how was fashioned. Glass engraving demonstrations will be done by Harold Gross, a former Steuben glass engraver from Corning, NY.
(This is not to be confused with the event at B. Madigan Jewelry & Gifts in downtown Hawley, where old Dorflinger glass will be melted and turned into beads.)

Afternoon Paddle at Lacawac has been added on Sunday afternoon, 2-4 p.m. Lacawac Sanctuary, located on the southwest end of Lake Wallenpaupack (Wayne County side), will provide canoes, paddles and life jackets. Fees apply.

All around the lake

For the third year in a row, the GDS Fair -which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2017- starts the same day as Wally Lake Fest. Williams said that he has not detected any negative impact on attendance at Wally Lake Fest from the overlap of events. Instead, they have both can share an advantage in terms of making the Lake Region doubly attractive as a destination this weekend, with a special event on either end of Lake Wallenpaupack. Wally Lake Fest and the GDS Fair, are cross-promoting one another’s events.

Paupack Sailing Club is again  providing sailboat rides at Wally Lake Fest. Fees will benefit Lacawac Sanctuary this year. As of Aug. 17 there were still a few slots left for sailboat rides, which are planned on Saturday afternoon.  Sailboats leave from Lighthouse Harbor Marina on the Greentown side of the lake. Reservations are required.

Among the many regular features coming back are the Wallypalooza, a floating concert event off the shore of Lake Wallenpaupack; the Boat, Watercraft & Outdoor Show; Open Market Fair; kayak rentals; a motorcycle ride around the lake; a comedy at the Ritz Playhouse; a sailboat regatta race; ice cream social with WAHS band; classic car cruise; beer tasting; Artisan Fair at the Hawley Silk Mill; contests; events at restaurants and other shops and more.

Blooming Grove Fire Dept.’s pancake breakfast and Lakeville Fire Dept.’s chicken barbecue are also listed.

Boat parade cancelled

One of the favorites to watch, the boat parade on Saturday, won’t be happening this year. Williams said that there was only one pre-registration by a certain point, when the sponsor, Chant Realtors, chose to call it off.

There is plenty of other activity, however, as is evident in their glassy brochure booklet. Color coded/numbered symbols on local maps quickly point to listings in the three day schedule. Shuttle bus routes and stops, as well as parking, are clearly marked.

The weather, he added, is always a challenge. Even if it rains, however, he noted that there are many indoor activities at Wally Lake Fest, and affirmed that on rainy days people look for activities they can still do.

Community spirit

Williams commented that a big “shout-out” to Wally Lake Fest volunteers and supporters must be made. He said it was the many people behind the scenes who come and work together, and businesses that provide sponsorships, that make the festival a reality.
Nonprofit organizations help as well. One of them is the Tafton Fire Company, which graciously provides Fire Police for necessary traffic control at the lake.

Williams stated that when a newcomer to the area comes up to him and tells him that that came back because of Wally Lake Fest, “that is gold.” He said that many places have “lakes and trees” but what makes this area special is the small town community associated with Lake Wallenpaupack. He said that this makes this area rather unique, where part of the charm is how the local people pitch in and make such an event as Wally Lake Fest a reality.

It has become a desired destination for locals and visitors alike.

For more information, pick up a Wally Lake Fest brochure available at the Lake Wallenpaupack Visitors Center and other area businesses, or call 570-226-2141.

The brochure lists the complete schedule of events. Additional details and daily updates are posted on http://www.wallylakefest.com, and the Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/wallylakefest.