PORT ROYAL - A restored steam calliope, the Pennsylvania State Police Mounted Unit and a bagpipe band are among the more than 140 entries that will march in the Port Royal Bicentennial Parade on Sept. 29.
The parade, with the theme "Perrysville to Port Royal - A 200 Year Journey," is a part of a three-day celebration of the small Juniata County town's 200th anniversary.
For some, festivities have already begun. Some of the town's men have ceased shaving in anticipation of the Men's Beard Judging Contest. Red, white and blue bunting and Port Royal commemorative flags are being displayed on more and more homes awaiting the Property Decoration Contest. And attics are being raided for the Period Dress Contest. Registration forms for the contests are still available at the Bicentennial Store at 410 Milford St., Port Royal, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, then will move to the fairgrounds to reopen during the celebration.
The Bicentennial Store is the boarding point for the bus tours of historic Port Royal and the surrounding areas. Check there for the dates and times of the tours that are not yet sold out.
And there's a whole lot more planned for Sept, 28, 29 and 30.
At the fairgrounds
The Port Royal Fairgrounds will serve as a central location for many of the Bicentennial activities during the three days of the celebration.
There will be a Welcome and Information Center in the Commercial Building, a Memorabilia Museum, Old Time General Store and One Room School will be set up in the Floral Hall (except during the parade on Saturday and services on Sunday). There also will be food concessions.
Barney Gray's personal memorabilia will be on display in the Exhibit Building.
In addition, author George Pierson will display his Tuscarora Valley Railroad memorabilia in the Exhibit Building, and he encourages anyone with items from the railroad to bring them for him to see at a meet and greet on Friday and Saturday. Pierson, a philosophy professor at Trinity Christian College in Illinois, wrote the book "Tommy Varner's Red Rooster," which tells the story of the Tuscarora Valley Railroad. The book was published by the Juniata County Historical Society in 1995.
Friday, Sept. 28
The celebration's kick-off event is the Port Royal-Tuscarora Valley Alumni Reunion, which will be held at 1 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Port Royal Community Building, where anyone who attended the two schools through 1968 will gather for a luncheon.
Before the evening's official Opening Ceremony, Phydeaux's Flying Flea Circus and Wahoo Medicine Show will stroll the fairgrounds from 3 to 6 p.m. There also will be wine tasting outside of the Commercial Building, and Darin Rex and his band will perform at 5 p.m. on the Free Stage.
The Opening Ceremony and a variety of entertainment will be held on the stage in front of the Grandstand, beginning at 6 p.m.
The opening will begin with a welcome address by Carlen McClure, a prayer by Rev. Frank Swartz and a poem by Rev. Brand Eaton, of Port Royal.
The ceremony will also include a plaque presentation by Dennis Noble, of the Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs, and certificate presentations from State Sen. Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, and State Rep. Adam Harris, R-Mifflintown, to Port Royal Mayor Barb Bergstresser.
Wayne Taylor will offer some facts about Port Royal, then the Period Dress Contest, emceed by Mel Thomas, will begin.
The contest will be followed with a performance by dancers from the Margaret McCann School of Dance.
Next on the schedule is the announcement of the Property Decorating Contest winners (judging will take place on Sept. 27), followed by the Men's Beard Judging Contest.
The evening will end with a fireworks display in the infield.
Saturday, Sept. 29
The fun continues on Saturday, with a variety of activities at the fairgrounds, a Civil War re-enactment adjacent to Moyer Park, the parade and musical entertainment in the evening.
Activities for children and their families all day at the fairgrounds include: a scavenger hunt, all day; one-room schoolhouse, 9:30 and 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.; Schoolhouse crafts, Corn Cob Doll and Nine-Patch Quilt at 10:30 a.m. and noon; Spelling Bee for kids of all ages, 5 p.m.; Three-Legged Races, Ring Taw and Sack Races, 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; Tug of War Challenge, 1 p.m.; hay rides, 5 to 7 p.m.
The Civil War-era events will begin with a re-enactment of Stephen Pomeroy's ride, which was Juniata County's claim to fame during the war. On June 30, 1863, Pomeroy, a Union scout, arrived from Chambersburg to relay crucial information to Gov. Andrew G. Curtin about the movement of Rebel troops. He carried a message from Judge Frances Crimmel, of Chambersburg, to be sent by telegraph from the Pennsylvania Railroad Depot in Perrysville (now Port Royal), to Gov. Curtin warning that Gen. Robert E. Lee had turned east from Chambersburg and was moving toward Gettysburg.
The Pomeroy ride will begin at 9 a.m. in Old Port, proceed to Town Lane to Fourth Street, turn left on Fourth to Milford, then left to Eighth through the fairgrounds, exiting at Sixth Street and end at the encampment site at Moyer Park.
At 10 a.m., re-enactors will play out a fictitious battle based on historical facts, contrived by local historian Wayne Taylor.
Bicentennial Committee members hope that the "surviving" Civil War re-enactors will then join the more than 140 entries for the parade, which is scheduled to step off at 2 p.m. at the Eighth Street Fairgrounds entrance.
Those along the parade route will see more than 30 floats and 10 musical groups, along with special vehicles such as a horse-drawn hearse, a classic car hearse, a steam engine, a Fiberglas hotwheels car sitting on a 1932 chassis, and a Chevy Tahoe painted as a tribute to Vietnam veteran Col. Bill Groninger.
Port Royal residents age 80 and older have been invited to view the parade from a special viewing stand in the Lutheran church parking lot, where there will also be parking spaces reserved for them and special needs guests.
Parking for the general public will be available at Uncle Dave's Market along Route 75 after 12:30 p.m.
Activities will continue after the parade at the fairgrounds, including live entertainments beginning at 5 p.m. on the Grandstand Stage. Scheduled to perform are: 5 p.m., The Esquires; 5:20 p.m., The Old Time Dulcimer Band; 6 p.m., Faces 4 Radio musical group; 6:35 p.m., The Sinceres singing group; 7:10 p.m., The Boyz singing group; 7:45 p.m., The Roads musical group; 8:20 p.m., The Esquires.
In addition, the Susquehanna Valley Square Dancers and Juniata County 4-H Square Dancers will perform on the racetrack between musical groups.
Sunday, Sept. 30
The final day's events begin with a Family Kickball Game at noon at Frankhouse Field, and birthday cake will be served from noon to 5 p.m. at the Welcome Center.
A Community Church Service and Veteran's Salute will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on the Grandstand Stage, or after the parade if it is postponed from Saturday.
The church service will feature pastors from Port Royal's Faith Bible, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian churches.
The service will be followed by a performance by the Good News Singers, a salute to Juniata County veterans and Ethan Fowler on the bagpipes.
An auction of bicentennial decorations and other memorabilia, including the whiskey barrel planters, the Civil War replica quilt by the Juniata Valley Quilter's Guild and more will be held at 5 p.m. on Oct. 11 at Barney's, Fifth and Milford, in Port Royal.