Chills and thrills ShiverFest fundraiser draws racers to Lackawanna River

Chills and thrills ShiverFest fundraiser draws racers to Lackawanna River

Hit the water, but don’t forget your wetsuit.
Canoers and kayakers once again can take to the Lackawanna River for a chilly ride through Scranton as part of the annual ShiverFest, which raises money for Lackawanna River Conservation Association. The event will take place Saturday, Jan. 19, with the Extreme Kayak/Canoe Race starting at noon and an after-party following from 2 to 5 p.m. at Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., Scranton.


The race will kick off at the Parker Street Landing (off East Parker Street in Green Ridge) and end at Sweeney’s Beach just off Green Street in the Pine Brook neighborhood.
LRCA Executive Director Bernard McGurl called the race “a lot of fun to watch.”
“We get about 50 participants on the water, so you’re going to see 50 boats getting paddled down the Lackawanna River in the middle of winter,” he added. “And it’s right through the heart of Scranton, so there’s plenty of room to see it on any of the flood control levees. … There’s lots of places to see it.”

Al Nudelman of Dickson City

As for those on the water, they seem to enjoy the opportunity to “get out and meet up with some friends and do some crazy wintertime kayaking,” McGurl said, noting that some participants in the past have dressed in costume. Racers must be 18 or older and provide their own watercraft and gear. Race participants can register the day of ShiverFest, but McGurl encourages them to do so in advance.
“We strongly recommend that they have a wetsuit or a drysuit (on), because the water temperature is down in the 30s, and it will get hypothermic if they get in the water,” McGurl said.
Organizers will have a campfire going at the finish line to kickstart the thawing, and then the fun continues at Backyard Ale House, where guests can warm up and enjoy food, drinks, basket raffles, a 50/50 drawing and camaraderie.
The race costs $30 per racer and includes admission to the thaw party. Spectators can view the race for free, but admission to the party for non-racers will cost $20.
“We’re hoping to raise a few hundred dollars at the thaw party,” McGurl said.
Proceeds from ShiverFest benefit LRCA, which recently moved its offices to a former church and rectory in North Scranton, which McGurl said “need lots of modernization and repairs and upgrades.” That includes electrical work and some recent plumping fixes.
“We just did a Giving Tuesday project for our … program, but (this fundraiser) is going into the general fund, and we really need it because we don’t have a lot of grants at the present time,” McGurl said.
The organization also is working on some bigger cleanup projects along the river, is encouraging local municipalities to unite to create a municipal stormwater authority and is “actively engaged in acquiring some new parcels of land, and that will help further development of the (Lackawanna River) Heritage Trail and our partners,” McGurl said — all projects that could benefit from ShiverFest.

Pennsylvania Farm Show  celebrates 103rd year

Pennsylvania Farm Show celebrates 103rd year

A winter tradition that brings together Pennsylvanians for a week of food, entertainment, contests and more returns this week.
The annual Pennsylvania Farm Show celebrates its 103rd year as it showcases the best the state has to offer in agriculture, livestock and other categories. Here’s what you’ll need to know if you want to join the fun.

Andy Matsko / Staff Photographer An alpaca listens to the opening ceremony of the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg, Pa., on Saturday, January 6, 2018.

Where to go
The show takes place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St., Harrisburg. The complex includes three arenas and 11 buildings.

When to go
The farm show food court will be open Friday, Jan. 4, from noon to 9 p.m., and parking will be free that day. The full show then will be open Saturday, Jan. 5, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 6, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Monday, Jan. 7, through Friday, Jan. 11, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Organizers advise that the best time to go is between 8 a.m. and noon and that the show is busiest from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

What it costs
Admission is free, but those parking on the two nearby lots can expect to pay $15. Visitors can park at the lot at Elmerton Avenue and Sycamore Drive or at Harrisburg Arena Community College on Wildwood Park Drive. A free shuttle runs between the lots and the complex entrances. Another free shuttle service will run between the complex and downtown Harrisburg weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

What to see
Visitors can get up close to some of the nearly 6,000 animals who will make the trek to the farm show, where their owners and handlers will show of their features and abilities as part of the numerous contests going on throughout the week. Guests also can check out the 10,000 competitive exhibits and 300 commercial exhibits.

JACQUELINE DORMER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Matthew Suchodolski, 2, of Coatesville, enjoys a milkshake as his father Myron Suchodolski lends a hand in the Exposition Hall at the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show at the state Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg on Tuesday morning, January 9, 2018.

What to eat
Find a wide range of Pennsylvania-made and -grown products and dishes at the food court in the Expo and Main halls. Groups serving items include the Pennsylvania Bee Keepers Association (honey ice cream, bottles of honey, beehive products and more), the Pennsylvania Cooperative Potato Growers Inc. (baked potatoes, French fries, potato donuts and more) and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association (milkshakes, milk, ice cream sundaes, toasted cheese sandwiches and more).

What to experience
Judges will spend the week honoring the Pennsylvania’s best in categories such as wine, baked goods, poultry, cheese and more. Visitors also can view various demonstrations, from Agricultural Education to sheep-herding to honey extraction; learn more at educational programs; and check out the wares of numerous vendors.
Other events include magic shows, story time, rodeos, celebrity chef programs, horse pulling and much more. Check for the full schedule of events and programs.
And as always, the annual farm show butter sculpture will be sure to draw a crowd.

For more information
Visit or call 717-787-2905 for details, and head to the farm show’s Flickr album to view photos from past editions.

10 Things: Free winter boredom busters

10 Things: Free winter boredom busters

The holidays bring plenty of time to reconnect and celebrate with family, but after a couple of days of lazing about, you may find yourself faced with a new question: What to do now?
Our occasional feature, “10 Things,” highlights some of the region’s best offerings and provides helpful tidbits. Today, we feature 10 local activities that are both fun and free to enjoy while you wait to ring in the new year.

Holiday lights
Nay Aug Park, 1900 Mulberry St., Scranton, lights up every year with displays of lighted characters and holiday scenes. Cruise through the display from the warmth of your car and explore this annual tradition, lit from 5 to 9 p.m.
Another popular spot to see holiday lights is at the Peckville Christmas House at 1130 Marion St., where visitors will find an elaborately decorated property full of lights that celebrate the holiday spirit. One new activity this year is a scavenger hunt in which guests can try to find 11 unique decorations.
The house lights up Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Fridays through Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m.

Festival of Trees 
Another holiday exhibit open into the new year is the Festival of Trees, located on the second floor of the Marketplace at Steamtown, 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton.
For the annual event, local businesses, schools, churches and nonprofits donate and decorate a holiday tree, with proceeds benefiting Toys for Tots.
The Festival of Trees will be on display through Sunday, Jan. 13. For more information, call 570-963-6590.

Be Daring Open Mic
Step out of your comfort zone and show off your talents at the Be Daring Open Mic at Adezzo, 515 Center St., Scranton.
Even if guests don’t want to perform, they can enjoy a change of scenery, sip their favorite cafe beverages and support local talent.
Open mics take place on the last Wednesday of every month, with the next one set for Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 7 p.m. There are 10 available spots to perform that are first come, first serve. Sign-up begins at 6:30 p.m.

‘The Nutcracker’
Ballet Theatre of Scranton presents “The Nutcracker” in partnership with Marywood University as a free gift to the community every year.
The ballet will take place Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Friday, Dec. 28, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. in Marywood’s Sette LaVerghetta Center for the Performing Arts, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton.
Tickets will be available at the box office two hours prior to each performance.
For more information, call 570-347-2867 or visit

Indoor Farmer’s Market
Find locally sourced fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats, wine, baked goods and more at the South Side Farmers’ Market, 509 Cedar Ave., Scranton.
Created by the United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the market is open throughout the year on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information, call 570-346-6203 or visit the market’s Facebook page.

Local history
There’s lots of local history and heritage in Northeast Pennsylvania to pique your curiosity.
Waverly Community House, 1115 North Abington Road, designed “Destination Freedom,” a self-guided walking tour, to allow guests to visit and learn about local sites that were a part of the Underground Railroad.
You can walk the tour from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Maps are available in the Abington Visitor’s Center at the Comm’s main offices Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guests also can arrange to pick up maps outside those hours by calling 570-586-8191, ext. 7.

Locomotive Shop Tour
Learn all about what goes into repairing and maintaining steam locomotives at Steamtown National Historic Site, 350 Cliff St., Scranton.
A 45-minute walking tour of the Locomotive Shop of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad will depart from the site’s visitor center every day except Christmas and New Year’s Day. You can join a park ranger or volunteer at either 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. to learn all about this integral part of local history.
Registration and reservations aren’t required; however, schedules are subject to change for safety inside the shop. Guests are advised of potential heat and noise they may encounter during the tour.
For more information, visit or call 570-340-5200.

Seven Tubs Nature Area
At Seven Tubs Nature Area, visitors can trek on the 1.8-mile loop trail that takes them past the numerous natural wonders on display — a series of waterfalls along Wheelbarrow Run that formed as water flowed over potholes (aka tubs) in the bedrock. Situated on 500 acres accessible at 900 Bear Creek Blvd., Plains Twp., the moderate trail also is open to dogs, so grab your furry friend for and fill your lungs with the fresh, cold winter air.
Visit for more information.

Second High School Art Show and Celebration of the Arts
View some of the region’s top student artwork at Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s latest exhibit the second High School Art Show and Celebration of the Arts.
Open through Jan. 21 in Friedman Art Gallery, the exhibit features the work of students from Lake Lehman, Tunkhannock Area and Wyoming Valley West high schools; the Creative and Performing Arts Academy from Wilkes-Barre Area School District; Sue Hand’s Imagery and Social Fabric Collective. Art teachers picked more than 50 of their best student pieces for the show.
The gallery is located in Nesbitt Academic Commons, Conyngham Lane, Dallas, and is open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 570-675-9159 or email

Lego Winter Reading Program
Children can grow in their reading skills while also winning prizes in West Pittston Library’s Lego Winter Reading Program.
Once registered, children will receive a Lego mini figure reading log and Lego bookmark. They can color one mini figure for every 20 minutes they read through Feb. 24 and then turn in their completed logs for a chance to win a Lego building book. The top reader will win a copy of “The Lego Ninjago Movie.”
The Lego Club meets Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. at the library, 200 Exeter Ave. Children who cannot attend can post a picture of their Lego creation and the book they are reading in the library’s Lego Winter Reading Facebook group so their entries are recorded.
For more information, call 570-654-9847 or visit

NEPA Philharmonic spreads cheer with holiday pops concerts

NEPA Philharmonic spreads cheer with holiday pops concerts

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic can once again give the gift of music this holiday season.
The orchestra will present its holiday pops concert Saturday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m., at Peoples Security Bank Theater at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine St., Scranton, and Sunday, Dec. 16, 3 p.m., at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre. Mélisse Brunet, interim music director said they worked hard on the program, which features classical holiday fair and other types of music.
“It’s a nice mix for all communities of the cities. … Everybody can really feel welcome when coming to that concert,” Brunet said.
After suspending operations for the 2017-18 season so it could develop a plan to stay financially viable, the orchestra returned to the stage in October, a show executive director Nancy Sanderson said sold out.
“It was really great,” she said. “The audience seemed to be so happy to see the orchestra back on its feet.”
When the orchestra went dark last season, Sanderson said she heard from community members about how much they missed the holiday concert. The returning favorite will feature many of the staples of past editions, such as the Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania; singer Erin Malloy, who will perform as well as lead an audience sing-along; and “March of the Wooden Soldiers,” featuring dancers from Ballet Theatre of Scranton.
“(The march is) just such a tradition,” Sanderson said. “I think we would be booed out of town if we didn’t have that.”
The audience also will hear the premier of a Klezmer piece Sanderson said is based on old Jewish melodies. It first was composed for band and clarinet solo and was just rewritten for orchestra and clarinet solo, Brunet said.
“We always try to include something for people who practice the Jewish faith, and we have this incredible … piece this year that’s just fun,” Sanderson said.
And as always, Santa and Mrs. Claus will stop by at the end of the show.
Brunet, a Paris native who was the philharmonic’s apprentice conductor in 2016, took over for longtime conductor Lawrence Loh this year, and Sanderson said the orchestra has received “wonderful feedback.”
“She’s fun,” Sanderson said of Brunet. “The musicians really love to play under her. She’s really clear about what she wants, and she’s got her own particular signature on everything she does. … The audience loves her because she’s just so charming. She likes to talk and interact with the audience, and she is really of the philosophy that a great concert is interactive.”
And Sanderson said the orchestra is following a five-year strategic plan, which she described as “fairly modest the first few years so that we can settle our debts without having to go to the community and ask them to pay off (our) debts.”
“People like to invest in the future and not in the past, and so we’re determined to do it the right way,” she said.
Part of the plan involves Brunet remaining as acting music director through those five years, after which time the orchestra must conduct a search for a new leader in accordance with a union agreement.
“But I sure hope (Brunet) submits her application,” Sanderson said. “She’s got great energy, and I’m really proud of the fact that we have a woman conductor right here in Northeast Pennsylvania, because it still is a man’s world. And that she has this position (and) this particular region of Pennsylvania wants her to be up there I think speaks volumes about open-mindedness and understanding the needs of the community.”

Animal Planet star to scratch surface of cat behavior, relationships

Animal Planet star to scratch surface of cat behavior, relationships

This Thursday’s show at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts just might be the cat’s meow.
Television star Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s hit series “My Cat From Hell,” brings his live stage show to the downtown
Wilkes-Barre theater on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6.
Galaxy said audiences are unsure what to expect when they come to one of his live shows, where he shares his expertise.
“They know it’s me, and past that they don’t know,” the cat behaviorist said recently by phone from a tour stop in Seattle. “But people have been incredibly receptive, and above all … (we have) had a really good time together. I’ve been going out to the lobby and signing things afterward. It’s what I hoped for.”
On his TV show, Galaxy helps cat owners resolve conflicts and preserve their relationships with their felines so they don’t end up giving their cats to shelters. His stage show, “Total Cat Mojo Live,” will incorporate some of that advice by including a question-and-answer session for the audience. And if they want more information beyond that, he said, he has supporting material available on his YouTube page.
“It’s great to be able to sort of grab the topic when I’m up on stage and then lead people to a more in-depth look at these things,” Galaxy said.
With his television show, Galaxy said, he makes three visits and spends 10 to 12 hours a day in someone’s home. That’s isolating, but when he’s on stage, he experiences “a constant energetic give-and-take.” He will share information about cat history, diet, advice and more.
“Just to get out there and just take a deep breath and interact is such a huge relief,” Galaxy said.
Galaxy described his stage show as “inclusive” and “an affirmation that we are a community of people.” He said he likes to joke in the show that dogs have parks and play dates, but cats don’t.
“We never get to get out there and have a communal event,” Galaxy added. “This is the cat party. … From the very outset, it’s a celebration.”
People used to treat cats like second-best, he said, but now “there’s now a good deal more cats in homes in the U.S. than dogs.”
“To have that affirmation that more and more people are seeking to celebrate it is a big deal. … And being able to look out there and see men and to see kids and to see an incredibly wide range in terms of the audience is also really encouraging,” Galaxy said.
Thanks to social media and sites such as YouTube, cats have gained more attention in recent years through viral videos, memes and celebrity felines, such as Grumpy Cat. The world has reached “that wonderful tipping point now where the casual becomes the committed … and I’m more than happy to lead that charge,” Galaxy said.
“My messaging throughout this show also is let’s now take it one step further,” he said. “If you’re going to spend time saying, ‘Oh my gosh, these are such cute cats on the internet’ … (we should) start putting our money where our mouth is. Let’s start advocating for them. Lets’s start advocating for all animals.”
More than anything, Galaxy said, he hopes his audiences take away the knowledge that “having a cat is having a relationship, and it’s not about what you own. It’s about who you love and … it’s time for us to own that instead of owning that animal.”
“I want us to start looking at our relationships,” he said. “And the response to that has been actually more accepting than I would have even imagined.”

Music to his ears – South Abington Twp. boy  starring in Broadway classic

Music to his ears – South Abington Twp. boy starring in Broadway classic

Not everyone can make the leap from a school production to national tour in just a few months, but Ethan Cutillo did just that.
The 11-year-old South Abington Twp. boy made his stage debut in the musical “Rags: An American Musical” at Scranton Preparatory School earlier this year and now finds himself on the road with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music.” Presented by Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the show will bring Ethan back home when it stops at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple for four shows from Friday, Dec. 7, through Sunday, Dec. 9.
Ethan’s work on stage grew from his love of music. He has played piano for six years and loves to sing — including with the children’s choir at the Church of St. Gregory in Clarks Green — but had no formal vocal training. He nabbed his first stage role after learning through his church choir director that Prep was in need of a child actor and singer for its spring musical. 
“I just felt it was so much fun to have the audience clapping and cheering me on, and the music just makes it really good,” Ethan said. “The cast was nice at Scranton Prep, so that was really cool. I … made a lot of friends.”
“He loved it,” recalled Ethan’s mother, Bobbie Cutillo. “And then we had an opportunity to audition in New York City, and we hesitated (at first), but we thought why not? … If nothing else, we’ll go to the city for the day.”
Following what she described as a “two-minute audition,” Ethan earned a callback for the following day. A few days after that second round, Ethan learned he’d been cast as Kurt, one of the von Trapp children, in “The Sound of Music.” Bobbie Cutillo said they were shocked that “a little kid from (the) Scranton, Clarks Summit area” could nab the role, but Ethan is really enjoying it.
The experience started with two weeks of rehearsals in New York City plus a week of technical rehearsals in Oklahoma City.
“It was pretty long, the rehearsals,” Ethan said. “And there (were) long hours, but it was a lot of fun because I got to make friends.”
Bobbie Cutillo said she broke down into tears when the music started to play for Ethan’s first show. There’s something about live theater that makes it great, she said, especially when your own kid is part of it.
“(I am) very proud of him, because he doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he’s certainly gaining it,” she said.
Ethan described his first time on stage with the show as “almost magical.” 
“I really felt good, and it was just great having the audience cheering,” Ethan said. “It was the same feeling as Scranton Prep … but it was even more great. That was really fun, just having a lot of people cheering.”
The show will tour for about seven and a half months, and Ethan’s mom and dad, Dr. Doug Cutillo, will take turns accompanying him on the road.
“It’s very interesting,” Bobbie Cutillo said. “I think it’s very challenging, but he’s really experiencing things that most 10- or 11-year-olds (are not), and he’s keeping up with his school work. “
A fifth-grader at Our Lady of Peace School in Clarks Green, Ethan continues to follow his school’s curriculum on the road and has a tutor, too. Ethan expects some of his school friends as well as family to be in the audience this weekend, when they’ll get to see him sing, among others, his favorite song, “The Lonely Goatherd.”
“There’s a lot of surprises in that that I think the audience is going to have a great time, because Maria’s starting to teach the kids how to sing,” he said, adding that the actress who plays Maria “makes it so laughable.”
He expects audiences to find humor in the song “Do-Re-Mi” and the first scene with the Von Trapp children, when they march onto the stage.
“There’s a lot of surprises in the show I think make it great,” Ethan said.
All that combine with beautiful costumes, a talented cast and an outstanding orchestra to round out the show, he added.
“People can come and see the show because it’s not just for adults,” Ethan said. “It’s like a family show, so if you’re having a bad day, I think they should go to the show because it just makes them feel better. It turns their frown upside down.”

Wonderful Christmastime Ballet classic ‘The Nutcracker’ dances onto region’s stages

Wonderful Christmastime Ballet classic ‘The Nutcracker’ dances onto region’s stages

Cue the Tchaikovsky.
The familiar strains of the Russian composer’s beloved Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker,” will fill auditoriums across Northeast Pennsylvania in the coming weeks thanks to local and international dance companies.
The story follows a girl, Clara, as she receives a nutcracker on Christmas Eve and begins a journey to otherworldly realms where she encounters magical creatures.
So grab your tickets and settle in for an extraordinary trip full of holiday spirit. Weekend Times has rounded up all the ways you can experience the classic production this season.

Linn McDonald School of Dance
Seventy students ranging in age from 3 to 60 will dance in the performance, which stars Sadie Hughes as Clara and Mark Dolph as Drosselmeyer.
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m.
Where: Scranton High School, 63 Mike Munchak Way
Tickets: $15, available at the door
Details: Visit the school’s Facebook page.

Moscow Ballet
The “Great Russian Nutcracker’s” Dove of Peace Tour comes to Wilkes-Barre and features hand-painted sets and such elements as nesting dolls, snow maidens and more.
When: Friday, Dec. 14, 7 p.m.; doors open, 5:30
Where: F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts, 71 Public Square
Tickets: $28, $38, $48 and $68, plus fees; visit the box office or or call 570-826-1100

Degnan Ballet Center at the Conservatory of Wilkes University
About 60 people star in the production, which consists of Wilkes University students as well as local students enrolled at Wilkes Conservatory’s Degnan Ballet Center. The cast includes Rachel Whitenight as Klara and guest artists Julie Degnan, Ruben Suarez, T.J. Firneno and Connor Cohen.
When: Friday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m.
Where: Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts main stage, Wilkes University, 239 S. River St., Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: Adults, $22; seniors, students and children, $15; call 570-408-4426

Scranton Civic Ballet Company
This marks the company’s 32nd annual edition of the classic production. Eighty students and adults ages 8 to 75 will present the ballet, which will feature company dancer Robert Zaloga as Cavalier. Civic also will present its annual free “Eye on Dance” educational performance of the ballet Friday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m.
When: Friday, Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16, 2 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Tickets: Individual, $18.50; family four pack, $55.50, plus fees, available at the box office or by calling 570-344-1111
Details: 570-346-7369 or

Ballet Theatre of Scranton
In partnership with Marywood University, the dance troupe once again will offer several free performances of “The Nutcracker” as a gift to the community. This marks Ballet Theatre’s 43rd year presenting the ballet, which stars Lucy Doherty as Clara. The cast also includes Abby Leoncini, a guest professional alumna.
When: Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Friday, Dec. 28, 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts, Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton
Tickets: Free; available at the box office the day of the show on a first-come, first-served basis two hours before curtain.
Details: 570-347-2867 or

Celebrated musician Johnny Rivers brings  classic song collection  to Wilkes-Barre

Celebrated musician Johnny Rivers brings classic song collection to Wilkes-Barre

The voice behind hits such as “The Tracks of My Tears” and “Secret Agent Man” will fill F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts with his beloved songs this weekend.
Johnny Rivers, who has sold more than 30 million records during his decades-long career, will perform at the downtown Wilkes-Barre venue on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6.
The audience can expect to hear many of Rivers’ greatest hits, which also include “Memphis,” “Poor Side of Town,” “Summer Rain” and “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” Rivers promised recently by phone from Los Angeles, where he lives. He said he updates the arrangements to keep them fresh and hopes the audience will “have a good time and enjoy the show.”
“We throw in some album cuts from different albums,” Rivers said, adding that he also does an acoustic set in the middle of the show. “It’s fun. People enjoy it. It’s very intimate.”
Born Johnny Ramistella in New York City, Rivers grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and started his professional playing career at 14. He returned to New York City the next year, scored a record deal and changed his name to Rivers. He released “Memphis,” which became his first No. 1 single, in 1964, and numerous hits followed. Since then, he’s racked up 17 gold records.
Many of his tunes have endured through the years because they’re just good songs, Rivers said.
“And a lot of them are very blues-oriented and stuff, which is my roots,” he added.
While he doesn’t write many songs any more, he does continue to put pen to paper, noting that he puts a lot of time into a song when he does compose and produces it himself. And Rivers can take inspiration from anything, he added, from an article read or his children and grandchildren.
Rivers continues to tour, too, although he’s abandoned long bus trips for weekend gigs.
“It’s just what I do,” he said. “I’m still healthy, and I can still hit the notes, and my voice is still good. As long as I can still do it and hit the notes, I’m going to keep doing it.”

Pick up homemade gifts, goodies at variety of local craft shows

Pick up homemade gifts, goodies at variety of local craft shows

Cross off your Christmas list with homemade, personal gifts picked up locally this year.
In the coming weeks, several organizations in the area will host craft and vendor fairs filled with handcrafted items, basket raffles, food and more, with many of the events raising money for local causes, too. Weekend Times has rounded up a few of the spots getting crafty this holiday season.

American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region Holiday Craft Show
This 24th annual event will feature more than 150 vendors selling handmade, homemade crafts such as soap, jewelry, food and clothing. Wine tastings and homemade cookies and candies also will be available. Proceeds support the Red Cross’ programs and services in the Wyoming Valley.
When: Saturday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Kingston Armory, 280 Market St.
Details: General admission costs $5, and children 12 and younger enter for free. Parking also is free. For more information, call 570-823-7161 or visit the Facebook event page.

Small Business Saturday Artisan Marketplace
Vendors at this event will sell only handmade products on two floors, and visitors also can enjoy live music.
When: Saturday, Nov. 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: The Anthracite Center at NBT, 41 N. Main St., Carbondale
Details: Admission costs $2. Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Seventh annual Buy Local Holiday Marketplace
Guests will find sellers spread across five floors of Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple and can choose from items such as fine art, jewelry, wine, food, children’s accessories and pet gifts. The first 1,000 shoppers receive a free reusable shopping bag. Refreshments and snacks will be available for purchase.
When: Sunday, Nov. 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: Admission costs $2. Visit or the Facebook event page or call 570-346-7369 for more information.

Old-Fashioned Holiday Market
The two-day event will include not only arts and crafts but also food, entertainment and horse-drawn carriage rides. Proceeds benefit CASA of Luzerne County and Wyoming Valley Children’s Association.
When: Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Public Square, Wilkes-Barre
Details: Call 570-208-4149, email or visit the Facebook event page.

Alternative Christmas Craft Fair
The event features handmade crafts from local artisans, a white elephant table, fair-trade items and wreath-making using fresh greenery. Guests also can enjoy a light lunch.
When: Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 97 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre
Details: Call 570-824-2478 or visit the Facebook event page.

Abington Heights Education Association Craft Fair
In addition to vendors, the fair will hold basket raffles, offer pictures with Santa and host food trucks. Free basket raffle tickets with admission. Proceeds benefit AHEA’s scholarship fund.
When: Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Abington Heights Middle School, 1555 Newton Ransom Blvd., Newton Twp.
Details: Admission is $2 for adults and free for children under 12. Visit the Facebook event page for more information.

Jefferson Twp. Volunteer Fire Company annual Cookie Walk and Craft Fair
After you check out the various crafts
for sale, grab some homemade cookies
for $7.99 per pound, with proceeds
benefiting the fire company.
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Where: Jefferson Twp. Volunteer Fire
Company, 405 Cortez Road
Details: Visit the Facebook event page.

Cookie Walk & Victorian Luncheon
First Presbyterian Church of Hawley will sell more than 30 varieties of homemade cookies for $11 per pound. Gluten-free options will be available. The church also will host a reservations-only Victorian luncheon, which will feature scones, quiche, finger sandwiches, desserts, coffee and tea.
When: Saturday, Dec. 8; cookie walk, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until sell out; Victorian luncheon, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Hawley, 815 Church St.
Details: Reservations are required for the luncheon; tickets cost $11 for adults and $6 for children under 10. Call 570-226-4835 for reservations or more information.

Frances Willard Elementary School PTA Craft Fair
The PTA’s inaugural craft fair will include numerous vendors selling items such as makeup, jewelry, essential oils and clothes.
When: Saturday, Dec. 1, noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Frances Willard Elementary School, 1100 Eynon St., Scranton
Details: Visit the Facebook event page.

Greater Scranton YMCA Holiday Craft Fair
The YMCA aims to offer something for everyone at this annual event.
When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Greater Scranton YMCA, 706 N. Blakely St., Dunmore
Details: Email jleshuk@greaterscranton, call 570-342-8115 or visit

Seventh annual Holiday Artisans’ Market
Pick up items made by artisans from across the Upper Delaware spread across two floors.
When: Sunday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: The Cooperage Project, 1030 Main St., Honesdale
Details: Visit or call 570-253-2020.

Abington Heights High School Music Department Vendor Sale
Pick up some food, crafts, clothes and more in this weekday fundraising show. Part of the proceeds will benefit Abington Heights High School’s music department.
When: Thursday, Dec. 13, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Abington Heights High School, 222 Noble Road, South Abington Twp.
Details: Visit the Facebook event page.

Son of a  nutcracker ‘Elf: The Musical’ jingles all the way into Scranton

Son of a nutcracker ‘Elf: The Musical’ jingles all the way into Scranton

The national tour of a Broadway musical looks to spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear.
Based on the hit Will Ferrell film of the same name, “Elf: The Musical” sweeps into Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave., for a weekend of four shows just in time for the holidays. Presented by Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania, shows will take place Friday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 11.
“It’s kind of hard to watch the show and not smile a little bit,” said Mackenzie Lesser-Roy, who plays Jovie, a department store employee whose life turns around when an elf from the North Pole arrives.
That elf, Buddy, actually is a grown human man who ended up as part of Santa’s crew when he unknowingly wandered into the toy sack as a toddler on Christmas Eve. Raised by Santa’s elves, Buddy comes to New York City to find his real father and ends up transforming the lives of those he meets. 
Lesser-Roy, who grew up in Westchester County, New York, said the musical does differ from the film but has the same sense of joy and many details that will make audiences laugh.
“The whole show is really fun,” she said. “I think some of these musical numbers … kind of hit you in the face. There’s so much going on, but it’s so entertaining. It’s non-stop, too.”
The character Lesser-Roy plays differs from others in the cast in that she’s more ordinary, and even more negative, than the over-the-top, exaggerated people around her, she noted. Jovie is not a holiday person and has always been alone during Christmas, something audience members might relate to, Lesser-Roy said.
“She does find the Christmas spirit,” Lesser-Roy said. “That’s why it’s so fantastic when (Buddy) does instill some happiness and Christmas in her.”
The actress praised her fellow castmates who play elves by dancing on their knees and said a song they sing is “just adorable.” Lesser-Roy has had many of the songs from the show stuck in her head and said audiences can expect a lot in particular from the tune “The Story of Buddy the Elf,” which comes toward the end of the show.
“It’s this big number where he’s telling the story and the whole ensemble comes in, and it’s this big, catchy, jazzy dance number. … The ensemble is incredible,” she said.
Lesser-Roy recently saw the sets for the first time, too, and said they blew her away.
“It is so colorful,” she said. “It’s also like 3-D in a way, so it almost feels like it’s coming out into the audience. It’s pretty brilliant. There are so many layers of set, and the set changes happen so quickly.”
And with the tour coming to Scranton as the holiday season kicks into high gear, Lesser-Roy expects “Elf” to put people in the right mood.
“I’m sure that there have been some holidays … where you were expecting it to be something different, maybe something better, and Buddy manages to instill Christmas spirit in different people that he meets,” Lesser-Roy said. “I mean, he meets people in a store, and two minutes later, he has them dancing and singing. So I think that it will absolutely get people into the Christmas spirit, and it will remind them of the purest reason for Christmas, which is to spend time with your loved ones and just to give back and to experience joy in the purest form with lots of people you love.”

Frights and delights Scare yourself silly with region’s haunted attractions

Frights and delights Scare yourself silly with region’s haunted attractions

Northeast Pennsylvania knows how to deliver the frights each Halloween season.
The region is home to numerous haunted attractions, which offer everything from spooky hayrides to creeping creatures to houses where spirits run rampant. So get in line and put on your brave face — you’re going to need it.
Circle of Screams
Watch movie scenes come alive during the Haunted Hayride into the woods, take in the creepy performers at the Cirque de Peur sideshow, and brave the haunted rooms of Delfino Manor. If you’re still in the mood for scares, stick around to catch a movie on the drive-in’s big screen.

Where: Circle Drive-in, 1911 Scranton-Carbondale Highway, Dickson City
When: Fridays through Sundays through Oct. 28; ticket booth open 6 to 10:30 p.m.; last ride leaves at 11 p.m.
Admission: Haunted Hayride and Cirque de Peur, $15; Delfino Manor (rain or shine), $15; Haunted Hayride, Cirque de Peur and Delfino Manor, $25; drive-in movies, $8 adults/$5 children
570-489-5731 and

Hellstead Manor
This indoor haunted attraction takes place in a grand house and includes free parking.
Where: 630 Harmony Road, Great Bend Twp.
When: Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 11 p.m., and Sundays, 7 to 10 p.m., through Oct. 28
Admission: $20
Details:, 570-396-5871 and

Dracula’s Forest
Guests can wind their way through the spooky scenery of two attractions, the Haunted Hay Ride and the Dark Kingdom. For younger visitors who want some scare-free fun, the Not-So-Scary Hay Ride opens on weekend afternoons.
Where: 2828 Rock Road, Ransom Twp.
When: Haunted Hay Ride and the Dark Kingdom, Fridays through Sundays through Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. (ticket booth open Fridays and Saturdays, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., and Sundays, 6:30 to 10 p.m.), weather permitting; Little Screamer’s Not-So-Scary Hay Ride, Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m., through Oct. 28 (last wagon leaves at 4:30 p.m.)
Admission: Haunted Hay Ride, $15 ages 11 and older/$10 children 10 and younger with paying adult; Haunted Hay Ride and Dark Kingdom combo, $25 ages 11 and older; free for active military members with ID; Not-So-Scary Hay Ride, $8; parking, $3 (parking benefits Newton Ransom Volunteer Fire Company)
Details:, 570-586-5084 and

Reaper’s Revenge
This 60-acre spot offers four haunted attractions: a haunted hayride; Lost Carnival, a walk-through set in a dark forest; Pitch Black, an indoor walk-through; and Sector 13, a zombie maze. The attractions stay open until all guests have gone through, but they must arrive by 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and by 10 p.m. on Sundays. They are not recommended for children under 10.
Where: 460 Green Grove Road, Scott Twp.
When: Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sundays, 6 to 11 p.m., through Nov. 3
Admission: $45 general/$40 Friday general with printable coupon/$35 Sunday general with printable coupon/$25 VIP upgrade/$70 VIP package (general admission with VIP upgrade)/$3 parking/$5 zombie paintball; active and retired military discounts available regularly plus on Military Family Day (Sunday, Oct. 28)
Details: and 570-254-8038

Gravestone Manor
Marking its 20th anniversary this year, the all volunteer-manned attraction presents a new story, “Spirits of the Manor,” about a game show host seeking to drive spirits from the home. The attraction is not recommended for children under 8.
Where: Trion warehouse, 1095 Route 315, Plains Twp.
When: Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 10 p.m., and Sundays, 7 to 9:30 p.m., through Oct. 28
Admission: $10; all proceeds benefit the United Way of Wyoming Valley
Details:, and 570-821-6500

Horror Hall
Guests will need about 20 minutes to complete the quarter-mile walk through this indoor haunted attraction.
Where: 11 E. Poplar St., Plymouth Twp.
When: Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m. to midnight, and Sundays, 6 to 10 p.m., through Oct. 28
Admission: $14 general/$19 fast pass
Details:, or

Hotel of Horror
This Monroe County site features several attractions, including the main Hotel of Horror, focusing on sanitarium residents locked in solitary confinement; Altered Nightmares, based on the occult underworld; and the Theatre of the Damned variety show. The action takes place rain or shine.
Where: 5105 Cherry Valley Road, Hamilton Twp.
When: Fridays through Oct. 26, 7 to 11 p.m.; Saturdays through Oct. 27, 6 to 11 p.m.; and Sundays through Oct. 28; Wednesday, Oct. 31; Friday, Nov. 2; and Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 to 10 p.m.
Admission: Hotel of Horror, $25 Fridays and Saturdays/$20 Sundays; Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares combo, $35 Fridays and Saturdays/$30 Sundays; Theatre of the Damned, $5; VIP line jumper pass, $10
Details:, or 570-992-3278

Scranton Reads focuses on sci-fi thriller ‘War of the Worlds’

Scranton Reads focuses on sci-fi thriller ‘War of the Worlds’

This year’s featured Scranton Reads book lends itself to a mix of serious and laid-back programs that draw from its classic science-fiction theme.
Readers across the region will pick up H.G. Wells’ 1897 story “The War of the Worlds” in the coming weeks as part of the annual initiative that encourages the community to read a specific book and participate in book discussions and other related events.
“First of all, it’s science-fiction, which is fun, and we haven’t done one of those in a while,” said Jessica Serrenti, spokeswoman for Scranton’s Albright Memorial Library and a Scranton Reads committee member. “But I think it’s also timely with how much media is in our hands now. ‘War of the Worlds’ is a story that just makes you wake up and focus on what’s in front of you … (and) just being aware of our surrounding.”
The joint venture between Scranton Public Library and the city started in 2002 and has featured such stories as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Red Badge of Courage.” This year’s book focuses on an alien invasion of Earth in which humans fight back using a virus. Orson Welles’s infamous October 1938 radio adaptation of the story induced a panic among people who thought an invasion actually was occurring. It has been adapted for the screen a few times as well, most recently by Steven Spielberg in 2005.
Lackawanna County Library System libraries have free copies of the book available, and Scranton Reads also will hand them out during its events and at the Dunmore Cemetery Tour on Sundays, Oct. 7 and 14, at 2 p.m. at the West Warren Street cemetery.
“People were thrilled that it was kind of timely for October with Halloween, and it’s aliens and invasions,” Serrenti said of the book selection. “They got a kick out of that. … It’s reaching kind of a varying audience in that respect.”
Scranton Reads’ programs kick off with a First Friday celebration on Oct. 5 at Albright Memorial Library that will feature artwork inspired by the book.
Other activities focus on the scientific and pandemic sides of the story, including “A Scarcity of Caskets: The 1918 Spanish Flu in Scranton” on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Lackawanna County Historical Society’s Catlin House, Scranton; “The War of the Worlds: When Will the Next Pandemic Occur?” on Monday, Oct. 29, at Marywood University, Scranton; and “Survival Skills” on Tuesday, Oct. 30, also at Marywood.
Dr. Philip Jenkins of Marywood University, meanwhile, will lead a discussion of philosophical issues in the novel during Albright Memorial Library’s Socrates Café program on Thursday, Oct. 18. And “The World Is Not Coming to an End. Trust Me: A Conversation about Telling the News” will bring together local journalists for a panel discussing “fake” news and how people can better consume news on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at Penn State Scranton, Dunmore.
Scranton Reads also will offer more light-hearted fare, including “War of the Worlds” film screenings and “History of the Carbondale UFO Sighting,” in which historian Robert Powell from Carbondale Historical Society examines the hubbub surrounded a supposed 1974 UFO crash there.
“Everyone has been going crazy for that,” Serrenti said. “They just think it’s such a fun idea just to see all the craziness and wariness that went around it at that time.”
Numerous county libraries will hold book discussions, too.
“Book discussions kind of allow you to keep an open mind about the interpretation of books and how others see it,” Serrenti said.

Scranton Reads events

First Friday kickoff
When: Friday, Oct. 5, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., Scranton

“War of the Worlds” film screening
When: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m.
Where: Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., Scranton

“History of the Carbondale
UFO Sighting”
When: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 6 p.m.
Where: Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., Scranton

“War of the Worlds” film screening
When: Thursday, Oct. 18, 6 p.m.
Where: Valley Community Library, 739 River St., Peckville

Socrates Café
When: Thursday, Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Henkelman Room, second floor, Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St., Scranton

“The World Is Not Coming to an End. Trust Me: A Conversation about Telling the News”
When: Wednesday, Oct. 24,
12:15 p.m.
Where: Hawk Lecture Hall: Business Building 201, Penn State Worthington Scranton, 120 Ridge View Drive, Dunmore

“A Scarcity of Caskets: The 1918 Spanish Flu in Scranton”
When: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
Where: Catlin House, Lackawanna County Historical Society, 232 Monroe Ave., Scranton

“The War of the Worlds: When Will the Next Pandemic Occur?”
When: Monday, Oct. 29,
6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Learning Commons, Room 206, Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton

“Survival Skills”
When: Tuesday, Oct. 30,
6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Learning Commons, Room 206, Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton

Book discussions
Thursday, Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m.: Taylor Public Library, 710 S. Main St., Taylor; 570-562-1234

Monday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m.: Nancy Kay Holmes Branch Library, 1032 Green Ridge St., Scranton; 570-207-0764

Thursday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m.: Carbondale Public Library, 5 N. Main St.; 570-282-4281

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.: North Pocono Public Library, 1315 Church St., Moscow; 570– 842-4700.

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 6 p.m.: Abington Community Library, 1200 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit; 570-587-3440

Wednesday, Oct. 24, and Thursday, Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m.: Valley Community Library, 739 River St., Peckville; 570-489-1765

Saturday, Oct. 27, 10:30 a.m.: Dalton Community Library, 113 E. Main St.; 570-563-2014.

City on the fringe – Scranton Fringe Festival returns with expanded schedule

City on the fringe – Scranton Fringe Festival returns with expanded schedule

A longer schedule aims to open up more opportunities for audiences to check out the variety of entertainment the Scranton Fringe Festival will bring to the city this month.
Expanding from five days to nine this year, the festival boasts activities ranging from improv and theater to film, dance and interdisciplinary work.
“We were trying to figure out how to have as many shows in the festival as possible with our resources available. … There’s only so many slots of time that you can put shows into, so pulling it apart like that really gives the audience a little bit more time to see things and also get involved a little bit earlier,” festival co-founder and managing director Elizabeth Bohan said.
The festival opens Saturday, Sept. 22, with the Big Gay Storyslam in Shopland Hall at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave. Bohan expects the 8 p.m. show to sell out.
A few other activities will take place in the days following the storyslam, with most events happening toward the end of that week. The festival will hold a free preview party Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m. at AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave., and close Sunday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. with a free, all-ages wrap party.
Tickets cost $8 for festival button-holders and $12 for those without buttons. Buttons cost $5 and offer holders discounts at various local partners, which include downtown restaurants and boutiques. They are available at festival headquarters in the Leonard, 335 Adams Ave., and all button partners. For a list of partners and more information, visit


518 Lackawanna Ave.
“Artemisia’s Intent”: Thursday, Sept. 27,
6:30 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 4:30 p.m.; theater/solo, by the Anthropologists, featuring Mariah Freda; rated R; 60 minutes
“Here We Are in Spain’s Night (Or Late Afternoon Depending on What Day You Go) of Comedy”:
Friday, Sept. 28, 9 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m.; improv; rated R; 60 minutes
“Goddamned”: Saturday, Sept. 29, 3 and 6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.; dance/movement;
rated R; 45 minutes
“Make Your Own Damn Sandwich!”: Saturday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m.; theater; rated PG-13; 60 minutes

AFA Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave.
Preview party: Wednesday, Sept. 26, 6 p.m.;
rated PG; 120 minutes
“The Presented”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 3 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m.; theater, starring Chris Davis; rated PG-13; 60 minutes
“I Killed the Cow”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m.; solo/theater, By Larissa Marten and Leia Squillace; rated PG-13; 60 minutes
“My Condolences: An Experiment in Grief Presented by the New Vintage Ensemble”: Friday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.; theater; rated R;
60 minutes
“#VANLIFE”: Friday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 4:30 and 9 p.m.; theater, by Chalk & Cheese Productions; rated R; 60 minutes

Artworks Gallery, 503 Lackawanna Ave.
“The World Will Stop If We Make a Mistake”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m.; interdisciplinary, performed by Sarah J. Stachura and Tim McDermott; videography by Brendan Regan; rated PG-13; 45 minutes
“Sound and Song: Oveone and Over-Sung”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 3 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m.; theater/musical, presented by C4 Studios; rated PG; 45 minutes
“From Plaid To Pork Chops… And Postcards To Paris”: Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29,
6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.; solo, starring Jeannine M. Luby; rated R; 45 minutes
“The Hugging Army 3.0: Connect Now!”: Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29,
4:30 p.m.; poetry/spoken word; rated PG-13;
45 minutes

The Bog, 341 Adams Ave.
“A Fringe-Tastic Electric City Boogie”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 9 p.m.; dance/movement; 21 and older; 90 minutes

Brennan Hall, Pearn Auditorium, University of Scranton
“Inside Mecca: Insights Along the Path of Abraham”: Sunday, Sept. 23, 3 p.m.; film by Anisa Mehdi; rated PG-13; 90 minutes
“Omega Male”: Monday Sept. 24, 6 p.m.; film, presented by the 411 Studio; created by Bob-A-Lou Productions; rated PG-13; 60 minutes
“Charlie Chaplin’s Body”: Tuesday, Sept. 25,
6 p.m.; film by Jeff Boam; rated R; 60 minutes

Craftsman Hall, Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
“Too Late for Help”: Thursday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Sept. 29, 8 p.m.; comedy featuring Ellen Doyle; rated R; 60 minutes
Scranton vs. the World Comedy Festival: Friday, Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29,
9:30 p.m.; comedy from Laugh Out Lepkas Comedy LLC; rated PG-13; 60 minutes
“Crime of the Hour”: Friday, Sept. 28, 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 6:30 p.m.; comedy hosted by Abby Deely; rated PG-13; 60 minutes

Junior Ballroom, Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
“Fruit of the Sea”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m.;
Friday, Sept. 28, 9 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29,
4 p.m.; musical/theater; rated PG-13; 60 minutes
“Rejects Anonymous”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m.; theater/improv, created and performed by Double D; rated R; 60 minutes
“Hedy! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr”: Friday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m.; theater/solo, written and performed by Heather Massie; rated PG-13; 60 minutes
“Light // Sound”: Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 2:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.; interdisciplinary/theater; rated PG-13; 60 minutes

Lackawanna County Children’s Library, 520 Vine St.
“We Are … The Children’s Library! A Visual Arts Experience”: on display Sept. 22 to 30; visual arts; rated PG; 90 minutes; free
Balloon workshop: Sunday, Sept. 23, noon;
Monday Sept. 24, 5:30 p.m.; with Miss Molly Balloons; rated PG; 90 minutes; free
Open mic night: Friday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m.; rated PG; 90 minutes; free
Playing Shakespeare: Sunday, Sept. 30, 1 and
4 p.m.; youth acting workshop; rated PG;
90 minutes; free

The Leonard (Scranton Fringe headquarters), 335 Adams Ave.
“The Comment Section”: Friday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m.;
Saturday, Sept. 29, 4 and 7:30 p.m.; theater, by David and Toni Jo Parmelee; rated PG-13; 45 minutes
“Good Joke/Bad Joke Bingo”: Friday, Sept. 28,
8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m.; theater/improv, presented by Bad Theater Fest of New York City; rated R; 60 minutes
“He’s Dead!”: Friday, Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.; theater/solo, by Grace Kapacs;
rated PG-13; 60 minutes
“The Ryan Case 1873”: Friday, Sept. 28, 11 p.m.; improv/theater walking tour; presented by Live in Theater; rated PG-13; 90 minutes
“A Spectacle & Mirth Cabaret”: Saturday, Sept. 29, doors open 10 p.m., show 11; cabaret, presented by Scranton Fringe; rated R; 90 minutes
Monologues That Impress: Saturday, Sept. 29, noon; workshop, with Carlo D’Amore
Teen playwright workshop: Saturday, Sept. 29,
2 p.m.; theater/spoken word presented by Scranton Fringe Festival in partnership with the Everhart Museum; grades seven through 12; rated PG; 90 minutes
Stand-Up Comedy Workshop: Sunday, Sept. 30, noon; workshop, with Ellen Doyle
Scranton Fringe Festival Wrap Party: Sunday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m.; all ages; free

Shopland Hall, Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Big Gay Storyslam: Saturday, Sept. 22, 8 p.m.; theater; rated R; 90 minutes
60X60 Dance Concert: Thursday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30,
5 p.m.; dance/movement, by Rob Voiseyo; rated PG; 60 minutes
“Rehabulous! The Lighter Side of Narcotics Recovery…”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 5 p.m.; theater/interdisciplinary; rated R; 90 minutes
“My Sister’s Keeper: A Poetic Stage Play”: Friday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 8:15 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 3 p.m.; theater, by Jody Austin; rated PG-13; 90 minutes

The Space at Olive, 541 Wyoming Ave.
“Harper Lee: The Secrets of a Mockingbird”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m.; theater/solo, starring Prudence Wright Holmes; rated R; 60 minutes
“Right Is the Price”: Thursday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m.; theater/improv, presented by Montrose Movie Theater; rated PG; 45 minutes
“An Interview with Peggy Guggenheim”: Friday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 3 and 6 p.m.; musical; rated PG-13; 60 minutes
“50 Shades of Gay”: Friday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 9 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.; theater/musical, starring Ike Avelli, Chris Williams and Jeza Belle; rated R; 60 minutes

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 232 Wyoming Ave.
“Golden Avatar”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m.;
Friday, Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.; theater, by Viva Kultura, featuring Ethan Smith; rated PG; 90 minutes
“Falkland — The War the World Forgot”: Thursday, Sept. 27, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m.; theater, by Tasty Monster Productions, Heather Bagnall and Luke Tudball; rated PG-13;
60 minutes
“Just a Penny”: Friday, Sept. 28, and Saturday, Sept. 29, 6 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 30, 2 p.m.; musical; rated PG; 60 minutes

Compound interest Trains and local history of coal unite for this year’s railfest theme

Compound interest Trains and local history of coal unite for this year’s railfest theme

A celebration of the region’s coal heritage and its connection to railroading plus more exhibits, music and activities make for a busy weekend at Steamtown National Historic Site.
The annual Railfest returns to the venue at Lackawanna Avenue and Cliff Street in downtown Scranton on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year focuses on the 250th anniversary of anthracite coal’s importance to Northeast Pennsylvania with the theme “Railroading and Coal: A Labor of Love.”
“Obviously the early steam trains ran with anthracite coal, and coal was such a great part of it,” said Debbie Conway, Steamtown’s superintendent. “The two … are really closely connected.”
While visitors normally enter Steamtown for free, the site will charge what Conway called a “cost recovery fee” to offset the event’s price tag. One-day passes cost $10 for ages 16 and older and $7 for children 6 to 15, and two-day passes cost $15 for adults and $10 for children. Ages 5 and younger enter for free.
Railfest officially runs Saturday and Sunday, but the venue will host a special event to kick things off Friday, Aug. 31, when David Stone: The Johnny Cash Experience performs at 7:30 p.m. in Steamtown’s theater.
Throughout the weekend, visitors can enjoy activities such as speeder car, handcar, caboose and Scranton Limited train rides; tours of Mattes Street Tower; photo opportunities; locomotive shop demonstrations; magicians; and more live music. They also can check out model trains, visiting railroad equipment and exhibits such as “The Call of Trains” by railroad photographer Jim Shaughnessy and coal-related photographs by Scott Herring.
Guests can take pictures of their own during a special Sunday morning photo shoot. Reservations are required for the event that Conway said will offer “really unique photo opportunities.”
“Rail fans love taking pictures of trains, so we’re going to try to set up a couple special shots,” she said.
Part of Steamtown’s goal for Railfest is to bring in visiting equipment from other railroads, Conway said, but that has grown more difficult in recent years as rail lines serving the area started to charge fees. Steamtown looked for other options and came up with the idea of a joint trip — dubbed the Northeast PA Railfest Flyer — with the Honesdale-based Stourbridge line, which routinely makes sightseeing excursions to Lackawaxen.
The Flyer will run Saturday, departing Steamtown for Moscow at noon. After lunch, a bus will take passengers to Lackawaxen, where will they will board the Stourbridge line for Honesdale. Another bus then will bring them back to Steamtown, arriving at approximately 5:45 p.m.
“It’s going to be a nice little partnership,” Conway said. 
She recommends that people buy their tickets in advance so they have an accurate number for bus seating. Tickets cost $80 for ages 13 and older and $60 for children 3 to 12; children 2 and younger ride for free on a lap. The tickets include two-day admission for Railfest and lunch.
Steamtown also will offer diesel train-pulled excursions to Moscow both days. Tickets cost $24 for ages 16 to 61, $22 for ages 62 and older and $17 for ages 6 to 15. Children ages 5 and younger ride for free but require a ticket.
Visitors also can take advantage of Railfest’s proximity to La Festa Italiana on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square by riding a free County of Lackawanna Transit System shuttle between the events during Steamtown’s operating hours on Saturday and Sunday. The neighboring Electric City Trolley Museum also plans to expand its schedule of trolley rides during Railfest.
The weekend offers “a lot of really fun things that are fun for the whole family,” Conway said.
“We’re really trying to mix it up and bring in different acts and kind of different draws,” she said.


Art and soul – Trio of events pack weekend with entertainment

Art and soul – Trio of events pack weekend with entertainment

A trio of summer traditions fall under a new umbrella together this year — the inaugural Lackawanna Arts Weekend.
The First Friday Art Walk, Scranton Jazz Festival and Lackawanna Arts Fest (formerly Arts on the Square) take over the city’s downtown with a vibrant mix of music, fine art, crafts and more starting Friday, Aug. 3.
“I really hope that this is just the beginning of putting Scranton on the map for our thriving arts community,” said Cristin Powers, ScrantonMade founder. “It does take a while to get things off the ground, but I think that we did a good job this year and I’m hoping that it just brings people from outside the area, from neighboring counties, to Scranton.” 

Devon O’Keefe, of West Pittston, paints a lion during the fifth annual Arts on the Square in downtown Scranton on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Jason Farmer / Staff Photographer

ScrantonMade’s Lackawanna Arts Fest spurred the change as it sought to move from its traditional July weekend “to take away some of the traffic downtown that day,” since it usually coincided with the county’s three-on-three basketball tournament, Powers said. Organizers brainstormed and decided to move the one-day offering of items from local artisans and craftspeople on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square to the same weekend as First Friday and the 14th annual Scranton Jazz Festival, “hopefully making Scranton and Lackawanna County a tourist attraction for that weekend,” Powers said.
Kicking off the weekend on Friday, with most stops open from 6 to 9 p.m. or similar, First Friday again brings a range of artistic mediums to locales across the downtown. Many also plan to offer live music, and First Friday has hired roving musicians to entertain throughout the downtown.
Uniting First Friday with the other two events will “add so much” to each event since each compliments the others so well, said Thom Welby, First Friday’s acting executive director. It gives them a chance to show off their events to new audiences, he explained.
“It’s so exciting,” Welby said. “We know that we’re going to be bringing in people from outside the market that normally wouldn’t come in, and we have the opportunity to show off these other events. … None of them take away from the other. I think it’s such a great opportunity to show off our area, and our First Friday events have been getting stronger every month.”
The jazz festival also opens Friday night with a happy hour at 5 followed by Voodoo BBQ Brass Band at 8 and Special EFX All-Stars — featuring Chieli Minucci, Eric Marienthal, Regina Carter, Lao Tizer, Joel Rosenblatt and Jerry Brooks — at 9 at Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel.
“They are a conglomeration of musicians that not only have they been award-winning and together for many years … but individually they’ve had some significant accomplishments on their own with solo albums and playing for other musical greats,” said Sarah Effertz, jazz festival marketing director.
Performances continue with jazz walks around the city Friday and Saturday nights and shows through Sunday.
“People love being able to then just filter out (of the concert and) walk through the city of Scranton, because the city’s beautiful at night, too,” Effertz said. “And on a summer evening, it’s a really nice walk.”
Other headliners include the Bernie Williams Collective — which features jazz guitarist and former New York Yankees player Bernie Williams — performing Saturday, Aug. 4, at 8:30 p.m., and trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis — son of Ellis and brother of Branford, Wynton and Jason — who plays with the SJF Big Band on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 8:30 p.m.
Visitors also will find live music at Lackawanna Arts Fest, taking place Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. on the square, where many familiar vendors will return alongside some new faces. 

Patricia J. Annabelli, spray paint artist, creates art work during the second annual Arts on the Square Festival in Scranton on Saturday, July 26, 2014. Jason Farmer / Staff Photographer

“More artists from out of town are making this a show on their calendars,” Powers said. “We have everything from handmade furniture, candles, jewelry, art, accessories, children’s accessories, wine and, mead, baklava, cupcakes, local honey. Really everything that our area has to offer from local independent artists and craftsmen.”
Live entertainment will come from Yam Yam, Chris Kearney & Friends, Starbird, Rogue Chimp and James Brown Dance Party, while people of all ages can enjoy free activities and even get to meet artists and crafters whose work is for sale.
“I think people really appreciate spending their money locally and getting to hand that over, say, to the person making the products,” Powers said. “It’s a really feel-good buy. I think that it’s just a great, family-friendly event to come to.”
Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., will offer an outdoor cafe, while Terra Preta Prime has something special planned at its new location, 301 N. Washington Ave., Powers said.
The weekend precedes the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, set for Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple. The lead up to that event also includes the Scranton Fringe Festival guide launch, Thursday, Aug. 2, 6 to 8 p.m., Adezzo, 515 Center St., Scranton; an architectural building tour, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 5:30 p.m., Catlin House, 232 Monroe Ave., Scranton; and “The Arts & the Public Good: A Forum,” Aug. 8, 3 p.m., Scranton Cultural Center.
Organizers hope the arts weekend brings more people to the county.
“Now that we have First Friday, Lackawanna Arts (Fest) and the jazz festival, it’s really exciting,” Effertz said. “It gives Lackawanna County and the surrounding area just a lot of activities, and it’s a lot of options to have a lot of great family fun. And it just enriches our area.”