Welcome to the Hay Creek Festival. In the 41st year our heritage festival is the most diverse event in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Today 1,500 volunteers bring together two centuries of history with authentic demonstrations of early American trades and crafts, mechanical technology exhibits, old time music, and a modern craft & antique market. So “Step into the Past” and immerse yourself in a history that our forefathers would be proud of experiencing.
Meet the Joanna Villagers:
Here ye! Here ye! The Hay Creek Festival takes pride in offering authentic traditional crafts and tradesmen with daily demonstrations taking place throughout the 26-acre Joanna Furnace ironmaking community. Visitors will experience what life was like 200 years ago in the quaint village of Joanna Furnace and see the hands-on skills of the 18th & 19th century townsfolk. Our community includes food preserving, laundress, weaver, seamstress, soap maker, broom maker, potter, tinsmith, gunsmith and pewter maker. The village woodworkers will be busy demonstrating adzing, pipe drilling, coopering and cutting timbers on a one-of-a-kind pit saw. Mail call takes place at 2 pm each day as the Villagers gather at town square to talk about the daily happenings.
Visitors will meet the Joanna Villagers as they tour the historic Joanna Furnace iron plantation and learn about the historic iron furnace operation. Guests will see a “Smithy” shape iron in the Blacksmith Shop, talk to the furnace moulder in the Casting House about making the Joanna 10-plate stoves, visit the storekeeper in the Office/Store Building to see the latest products offered for sale, and experience what life was like for the collier at the Charcoal Barn Museum. The ironmaster will also be available in his home to give personal insight into his profitable business.
Civil War Encampment:
Although the Civil War never came to Joanna Furnace, the ironmaster’s sons did their civic duty and went off to war to protect the Union from the southern rebellion. Today the Hay Creek Festival remembers these men …. and women … who sacrificed for our great country by offering a special interpretation to remember our countries’ Civil War history. Reenactors from the69th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry will be setting up camp and telling the story of a soldier’s life, plus will offer daily firing demonstrations in the town square. Also look for a Civil War medical impression and civilian reenactors who will talk about life on the home.
Town Square Stage Entertainment and Dancing:
The Hay Creek Festival offers a wide array of family entertainment throughout the entire weekend. Irish, folk, and traditional musicians perform at the Town Square Stage as well as magicians, jugglers and puppeteers will entertain young and old alike. Guests are also invited to interact with the Joanna Villagers at 2:30 pm each day as they teach you dances of the time including the Grand March and the Virginia Reel.
Mechanical Technology Exhibits:
The Mechanical Technology Building at the festival features a line shaft powered by a 40HP Case Power Unit with vintage equipment including; a Post Drill, Drill Press, Profile (Copy) Machine, Wood Lathe, Mortis Machine, Dove Tail Machine, Stone Mill, Corn Sheller and a Wheel Hub Lathe. Check out all this old-time equipment running at full speed.
Visitors will also see hundreds of antique cars, tractors, and hit n’ miss engines on display and each afternoon at 1 pm you can “pull up a straw bale” at the Town Square Stage and watch the daily car and tractor parade. Plus you can see a 19th Century sawmill in operation and learn how grain was harvested and “threshed” on the farm.
Antique Cars, Tractors, and Engines. The Hay Creek Festival welcomes antique car, tractor and engine enthusiasts to join our event. Registration can be made at the gate prior to 10 am each morning or you can register today by clicking the link above. New in 2018 – We will be judging your exhibit and awarding prizes to the best vehicle (car, truck or motorcycle), tractor and engine exhibit. Judging takes place Saturday morning at 10 am with prizes being awarded at 12 noon.
Hands-on Activities for the Entire Family:
The Hay Creek Festival invites you to be a part of our longtime heritage event and interact with the festival interpreters and demonstrators. You are encouraged to ask questions and to try your hand at many of our early American crafts and/or trades. Here is a list of hands-on activities that the young and young at heart can take part in – candle making, paper making and marbleizing, kneading bread , pipe drilling, wood carving, writing a letter to the ironmaster and “canceling” it at the village post office, gathering herbs, early American games and so much more. Upon check in at the festival please pick up a “Chore List” that outlines all the festival hands-on activities that can be completed. If you complete your chores we will give you a free wagon ride around the historic complex! Additional children can visit the Wheelwright Shop archeological site and dig for artifacts in our mud pie archaeology simulation. Our archaeology activity has been voted “Best Activity” by parents and kids who have visited our festival.
Attention teachers and students, Friday, September 7th is Student Day at the Hay Creek Festival. Teachers…. Be sure to plan you school trip now. Special admission rates apply for school groups with 10 or more children.
Creekside Crafts and Antiques:
After exploring the Joanna Furnace ironmaking community you will want to spend some time shopping in our Creekside Craft and Antique Market. A great selection of candles, soap, wood, jewelry, fabric, pottery, dolls and doll clothing, rugs, stained glass, toys, leather and so much more will be for sale. A large number of antique and vintage items will also be available to purchase for your home decorating and collecting needs.
The Hay Creek Festival is known for its delicious homemade foods. We offer everything from Mabel’s kettle soups (ham & bean, chicken corn noodle, and beef vegetable) schnitz un knepp (stewed apples, ham and dumplings), ice cream floats, mint tea, home baked bread and hamburgers & hot dogs.
Visitors can start their day at the Hay Creek Festival with an Ironmaster’s pancake & sausage breakfast. This “rise and shine” breakfast is served Saturday and Sunday morning from 8 to 11 am in the Joanna Furnace Mule Stable.
Children 5 and under: Free
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