TROY - The Pennsylvania Heritage Festival gets bigger and better each year and has something for everyone, including those with an interest in hunting, trapping and firearms.
The festival will be held on Saturday and next Sunday at Alparon Park, at the intersections of Routes 6 and 14 here.
A facade of an old gun shop will be on the grounds, with retired Wildlife Conservation Officer Bill Bower wearing a vintage 1929 state Game Commission uniform.
Anyone who has a firearm or an article pertaining to hunting or trapping and would like to know its value or more information about it is encouraged to bring it to the festival for an evaluation.
Each year we are surprised by the items that people bring in. One year, a muzzle-loading rifle and a possible bag containing all of the items needed to load and maintain the rifle were brought in.
The possible bag, which was slung over a hunter's shoulder, is becoming quite collectable.
The history of the rifle and bag was interesting in that it had been carried by a Clyde Cole, of Gatlinburg, Tenn., and the last time both were used was when Clyde killed a bear.
What really was interesting was, when I checked the gun, I found that it was loaded; however, the owner, who inherited the weapon, had no idea that it was loaded.
Although the easiest way to unload a muzzle-loading firearm always has been to discharge it, many times rifles were put away loaded.
Also at the festival will be a display of antique guns, traps and hunting items, such as the Winchester rifle, often referred to as "the gun that won the West."
In addition to the early firearms, the festival is featuring Van Wagner, a living history presenter, who will share a program on the 100th anniversary of the reintroduction of elk to Pennsylvania. He is an award-winning educator, whose period dress, demonstrations and musical performances are educational and entertaining.
The North and South cannons again will echo through Pennsylvania's hills as groups dressed in Civil War-period uniforms will demonstrate the firing of cannons.
There also will be demonstrations on spinning, weaving, blacksmithing, soap making and many other lost arts that our ancestors found were a necessity.
The festival is child-friendly and educational. Many games and activities are planned for children.
Admission is $4, and free for children 12 and younger.