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Boalsburg steps into spotlight at annual festival

Seul Jichoi gives visitors some history about Boalsburg during a tractor ride through the village at the Boalsburg Heritage Festival on Sunday.
Seul Jichoi gives visitors some history about Boalsburg during a tractor ride through the village at the Boalsburg Heritage Festival on Sunday. CDT photo

Sue Haines stopped listening to the tour guide’s voice for a moment and admired a tree line’s autumn leaves near the Boalsburg Cemetery.

“I love this town of Boalsburg,” Haines, of Howard, said. “It’s so beautiful this time of year. Fall is my favorite time of the year, you know.”

Haines rode on the third tour of the village during the 20th annual Boalsburg Heritage Festival. Organizers said they expected about 200 people to attend Sunday’s festival.

“It’s designed to be smaller and for people to enjoy and learn about Boalsburg,” Maria Capparelli, the festival’s co-chairwoman, said.

J.T. Thompson’s piano playing could be heard as the tractor pull tour came to an end, and his baritone voice boomed into his microphone. His performance drew about 30 people.

Donna and Drew Hyman sat in front of Thompson and tapped their shoes to his beat.

“The blues he’s playing is delightful,” Drew Hyman, of Boalsburg, said.

Thompson, Richard Sleigh, Bruce Young and Tommy Wareham performed music throughout the festival.

“And it’s a delightful day out, too,” Donna Hyman said.

It’s the kind of day organizers hoped for.

“We couldn’t ask for better weather to show off Boalsburg’s gems,” Capparelli said. “We could discuss the all the gems Boalsburg has in such a small area. We have the Pennsylvania Military Museum, the Boal Mansion Museum, the Boalsburg Heritage Museum.”

Penn State students volunteered to help with the event, a first according to Capparelli.

Students from The Bridge Initiative club served as tour guides on the tractor pull throughout Boalsburg.

“I searched online, and I called them to see if we could help in some way,” Gyeong Hee Yu, the club’s operations manager, said. “We’ve been doing this, trying to reach out to different places to find out what we can volunteer for.”

The Circle K club also had students volunteer at the event.

“We like to pick things happening near Penn State, and if we can help set up things like this, that’s what we’ll do,” Emily Zimnoski, a club member, said. “It’s been fun.”

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