Osceola Mills is a sleepy kind of place.
Sitting on Route 53 between Philipsburg and Houtzdale, it is quiet and quaint. In some ways, this is sweet and perfect. The borough is off the beaten path, a place where children still roam the neighborhoods freely, Mayberry-style. Somewhere that unlocked doors and cars are not unusual.
In other ways, well, quiet can seem a bit restrictive. Except for the Clear-Centre Pool over the summer, there are not many activities to bring visitors to town.
Until that sweet spot where June flows into July. That is when the Columbia Fire Company at the corner of Curtin and Pruner streets hosts its annual event, a weeklong party that is the closest thing that the tiny town waits for all year.
It kicks off Sunday with the car show and a chicken dinner.
This year, it also features nightly entertainment. Horseshoe Cloggers perform at 6:30 p.m. and Shot in the Dark Band from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Monday. River Road Band is onstage from 6 to 8 p.m. and Joe Quick from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. Almost Adults gets going from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Felix and the Hurricanes take the mic from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. next Thursday. Spruce Creek Band performs 7:30-10:30 p.m. July 3.
Things start earlier on July 4. Rosie and the Jammers Band plays from 2 to 5 p.m., followed by Hitchcock Railway Band from 8 p.m. to dusk.
But this week has always been about family.
Starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the celebration focuses on kids, with firetruck rides and other activities for Children’s Night.
There is no denying that the real main attraction happens at 11 a.m. on the Fourth of July, when Osceola welcomes fire companies, bands and more from across the region, and families and friends from near and far for the annual parade.
It’s a week of “Let’s go down to the carnival!” capped by a red, white and blue shindig that has to be experienced to be understood. And Osceola Mills can’t wait to put out the welcome mat.