In our rural community, fall traditionally means a harvest time full of locally grown apples, cider, pumpkins, cabbages, leafy greens and pears. It also means the Friday night lights of coal region football games, terrific high school marching bands and band-front, No. 9 Mine’s Old-Fashioned Miners Labor Day Ethnic Food Picnic & Civil War Encampment this weekend, the Schuylkill County Wine Festival in Hegins Park on Sunday, Hometown Farmers Market’s Fall Craft Show on Sept. 12 and the Hegins Valley Arts & Crafts Faire on Sept. 18. Barring COVID-19 in 2020, these are tried and true traditional Schuylkill County events we can count on every September.

There also happens to be a few new events on the horizon this month that I’m hoping will become fall traditions in our community, too. Our partners at Hawk Mountain have begun a Music on the Mountain series, and this month the featured artist is none other than Schuylkill County’s Gabriel Chamber Ensemble. The concert begins at 2 p.m. Sept. 11, and you can get tickets at The proceeds from this concert benefit both organizations.

Have you been to Hydrangea Cottage Tea & Gifts in Pottsville’s market square yet? If not, they’re kicking off the fall season with an open house the weekend of Sept. 10 to 12 with food and beverage samples, door prizes and harvest décor galore. Speaking of fabulous seasonal décor, the Walk In Art Center is hosting its brand new FrankenClaus Pre-holiday Flea Market & Bazaar on Sept. 25. This new event is a one-of-a-kind handmade and vintage décor market dedicated primarily to Halloween and Christmas. Two awesome new ways we can keep it local this month!

Another cool new event for September is the Pottsville Area Development Co.’s Pottsville Train Rides on Sept. 11 and 18. The train leaves Pottsville Union Station at 11:30 a.m. and goes on a ride that lasts approximately 70 minutes. All passengers must have a ticket to board, with the exception being children under the age of 2. (And you can bring beverages and snacks aboard, too.) Go to to purchase your tickets today! During both of these Pottsville Train Trip Days, you can tour Yuengling Brewery Museum and Gift Shop; Jerry’s Classic Cars & Collectibles Museum; visit the Schuylkill County Historical Society; dine at Wheel, The Crimson House or Roma; grab a brew at Black Rock or Pilgur Ruh; recharge with fresh barista creations at Pressed Coffee and Books; visit Momma Millie’s for a sweet treat; shop Murphy Jewelers, Drasdis & Son and Hydrangea Cottage and much more.

Speaking of trains, this month is Schuylkill Haven Borough Day; a tried and true traditional fall event in Schuylkill County for 33 years and counting! The Borough Day committee is “back on track” this year on Sept. 25 fulfilling its mission to “provide a day that’s fun and entertaining for the whole family to enjoy — that’s affordable!” And I’m certain they’ve done just that. With Blue Mountain Reading & Northern railroad excursions, 13 live musical acts, the Victorian Highwheelers, the Hawk Mountain Highlanders, the Mummers All-Star String Band, antique tractors, kids bounce fun and mini-train, Mark’s Interactive LEGOs, Rock and Roll Racing RC Cars, artisans, crafts and a “train load” of delicious food and beverages, you’re sure to have a fabulous day with family and friends.

On a quick side note, I’d like to remind everyone that Explore Schuylkill’s Passport to Adventure is still running and closes on Oct. 31. You’ve still got plenty of time to explore! Please don’t forget to send in your passport for a chance to win a Go Pro Hero8 4K Waterproof Action Camera Bundle and other cool prizes!

One thing that all of these autumn celebrations have in common is celebrating people coming together. In Schuylkill County, we come together in times of duress and in times of joy. I’m proud and blessed to be a part of our community, a community with a rich history of enjoying our heritage and engaging future generations in that process. Of course, I’ve only scratched the surface of things to do in our community. To find out more about September events, access the Schuylkill County Outdoor Recreation Map or trails directory, visit and remember to get out and enjoy fall in Schuylkill County!

Gargano is executive director of Explore Schuylkill.