Hay Creek Festival
HAY CREEK FESTIVAL – Friday – Sunday, September 6 – 8, 2024 – 10 am to 5 pm.
Welcome to the 48TH annual Hay Creek Festival. Our annual heritage festival is the most diverse event in Berks County, Pennsylvania and features over 1,500 volunteers bringing 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.
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 newly restored Wheelwright Shop will be open for the public to visit. Plus the ironmaster and his family will also be available in his home to give personal insight into his lucrative business.
Demonstrators and interpreters wishing to be a part of the Joanna Furnace Villagers click here to download a registration form.
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 the 50th 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 front.
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.
The Hay Creek Festival welcomes antique cars, tractors and engine enthusiasts to join our event. Registrations can be made online prior to the event or at the festival gate prior to 10 am each morning.
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! Additionally children can visit the “Adventure Tent” 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 8th is Student Day at the Hay Creek Festival. Be sure to print and bring our Student Day registration form to our festival.
Creekside Crafts & 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.
Interested in being a Vendor in the juried Creekside Craft & Antique Market? – Click here to download an application for the market.
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) ice cream, sausage and turkey sandwiches, hamburgers & hot dogs, French fries, homemade funnel cakes, bread, various baked goods and drinks. Fresh pressed apple cider is made daily.
Please note: Food Tickets are needed to purchase food items. Ticket booths are placed conveniently throughout the festival grounds and can be redeemed prior to leaving the event.
Children 5 and under: FREE
Attractions 10 am to 5 pm daily
In the event of inclement weather the event hours may be altered and/or specific days could be cancelled.
Parking & Shuttle:
NEW IN 2023: Parking on Saturday, September 10th & Sunday, September 11th will be at WEAVER’S ORCHARD – 40 Fruit Lane, Morgantown, PA 19543. Weaver’s Orchard is located approximately 1 mile north of the Festival Grounds. Visitors will ride our FREE bus service to and from the festival. Shuttle Busses run continuously from 10 am to 6 pm.
Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, & American Express) are accepted at the Festival Admission Gate and our main Ticket Booth.
The Historic Joanna Furnace grounds are hilly and have gravel pathways. For your safety please stay on the pathways and respect our 200 year old structures. Comfortable walking shoes highly encouraged to navigate our site. At no times should you remove any stones or artifacts from the property…. Please respect our historic site, clean up after yourself and leave only your footprints.
First Aid Station is available. Located near the Town Square Stage.
Please note: We are a family friendly event and ask visitors to refrain from profane language and any inappropriate behavior.
Pets are not permitted at our festival.
Due to our jurying policy vendors will not be accepted to our festival within thirty days of our event.